Luke Kuechly in tears while being carted off field

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly was carted off the field Thursday night and evaluated for a concussion after making a tackle in the fourth quarter.

Kuechly collided with New Orleans Saints running back Tim Hightower and remained on the field for several minutes. He sat up while meeting with trainers before being carted off.

Kuechly had 14 tackles in the game before exiting. He returned a second-quarter blocked kick for a touchdown, but the play was called back due to a penalty.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said after the 23-20 win that he had no update on Kuechly and would not speculate on his status. 

"We hate those guys go down like that," defensive end Kony Ealy said, "but we've just got to go out there and keep grinding like they were still on the field, you know?"

Since his 2013 defensive player of the year campaign, Kuechly has been the centerpiece of the Panthers' defense. He missed three games in 2015 with a concussion.

The fifth-year linebacker has been named to the Pro Bowl three times, First Team All-Pro three times and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year (AP) in 2013.

Former Carolina safety Roman Harper, who re-signed with the Saints during the offseason, tweeted his support for Kuechly after the game. 

"I'm praying that everything was just precautionary and everything that comes back is all right," Coleman said. "Bottom line is I want him to be healthy." 

Center Ryan Kalil also left the game after aggravating a shoulder injury.

 

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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