Panthers’ Kuechly leaves game to be evaluated for concussion

Carolina Panthers' Luke Kuechly is taken off the field after being injured in the second half against the New Orleans Saints in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (Bob Leverone/AP)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly won’t return to the Panthers’ game Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles after being placed in the concussion protocol.

Kuechly, the former Associated Press NFL defensive player of the year, came out after he took a hit near his neck from Eagles offensive lineman Brandon Brooks. Kuechly paused to squat down with about 5 minutes left in the second quarter, then walked to the sideline for trainers to test the range of motion in his neck before he jogged into the locker-room tunnel.

He didn’t join the team for the second half and was ruled out in the third quarter. He missed six games last season and three games in 2015 due to concussions.

The Panthers also lost running back Fozzy Whittaker in the first quarter. He was carted off with an injury to his right ankle.

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