The Carolina Panthers managed to win narrowly this past Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints with a 23-20 victory, but they didn't make it easy for themselves. They allowed their opponents to score 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter for the second week in a row.
However, that may now be more of a common occurrence between now and the end of the season, as the Panthers might be without a key player on their defense for at least a week, linebacker Luke Kuechly.
It is believed the 25-year-old picked up a concussion with under five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. He also bent his left knee in an awkward fashion on the same play and also took a helmet to the chest.
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The linebacker was then pictured in tears as he was carted off the field to be assessed, and if you know about his concussion history, you will understand why he was emotional.
Kuechly had really bad concussion issues last year, as he missed 34 days of the 2015 season after he was slow to recover from a concussion. Considering he may have picked up another concussion on Thursday night just over a year later is surely devastating.
Alongside the fact he had to be carted off the field shows why he was so emotional and distraught, as this concussion not only affects his next few weeks, but it could drastically affect his playing future.
It's difficult to see the Panthers progressing further than their 4-6 record and achieving a playoff run without Kuechly in their lineup, as he is the heart and soul of their defense. He had 14 tackles in Thursday night's game alone.
With big games coming up against the Oakland Raiders and the Seattle Seahawks who have strong offenses, their season looks over if the linebacker isn't able to play. Fingers crossed, this isn't the case and he is able to return soon.