Kelvin Benjamin (knee) expected to play for Panthers Sunday

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Kelvin Benjamin (knee) expected to play for Panthers Sunday

Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, in the NFL's concussion protocol for the third time in three seasons, will miss Sunday's game against the Bears, the team's announced Friday.

This will be the 10th game Kuechly has missed since 2015 after going into the NFL's concussion protocol. Through six games this season, he has 26 catches for 371 yards and 1 touchdown on 38 targets.

Center Ryan Kalil, wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and defensive end Charles Johnson are all listed as questionable, and so is place kicker Graham Gano. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Kuechly is progressing nicely through the concussion protocol but is not quite ready to play.

Rivera sounded optimistic that Kuechly would not miss as much time with this one.

Rivera said Kuechly will see the doctor Monday morning and left open the chance that the four-time Pro Bowl selection could play October 29 at Tampa Bay. Benjamin developed swelling in his bursa sac last week after taking a hit on his knee against Philadelphia. He is now in the concussion protocol process. Kalil has missed five games with a neck injury and Coleman has missed the last two with a knee problem.

Rivera said free safety Kurt Coleman will be a game-day decision after being sidelined the past two games with a sprained MCL. He is listed as questionable.

In addition to Kuechly, backup safety Demetrius Cox (ankle), running back Fozzy Whittaker (ankle) and tackle John Theus (concussion) also are out Sunday.

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