Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly didn't practice Wednesday, after which coach Ron Rivera told Steve Reed of the Associated Press, "He's in the protocol."

Rivera wouldn't elaborate on the point, but it has been rumored for some time that Kuechly is on the verge of receiving clearance from an independent neurologist. The murky nature of concussions is delaying that development, keeping a cloud over his return to the field. Until he's cleared, A.J. Klein will hold down the fort at middle linebacker.

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