The Panthers and Colts released their final injury reports, and it appears both teams will have some significant depth issues on defense going into Sunday. Let’s dive in.
Panthers Injury Report
- LB Justin Houston (hamstring), WR Laviska Shenault (ankle), LB Claudin Cherelus (knee) - Out: Justin Houston missing the game means the Panthers outside linebacker group is terribly thin behind Brian Burns. With Yetur Gross-Matos going on IR last week and Marquis Haynes still not ready to return, that DJ Johnson will be backed up by Eku Leota and others off the practice squad. Would be a great game to break out! Shenault still isn’t healthy enough to return, and Cherelus is a solid special teamer that the Panthers had to put on IR this week as well.
- S Vonn Bell (quadriceps) - Doubtful: Starting safety out again this week, though the Panthers secondary is coming off one of its best games of the season as far as limiting big plays. Sam Franklin and Jammie Robinson will again look to get some time in his stead.
- WR DJ Chark (elbow), CB Donte Jackson (quadriceps) - Questionable: DJ Chark could end up missing this game since he did not log a full practice session, which isn’t great for their speed options and they would be pretty shorthanded with Shenault already out. Donte Jackson was a late addition to the report though he did log a full practice Friday. However, it does appear the Panthers added some insurance this week with CB David Long JR being added off waivers Friday.
- Honestly, the list of players without a designation is a mile long, so I’ll just hit the highlights. Austin Corbett will continue to start at right guard as he gets back to form, that Brian Burns elbow injury he called “a problem” last week won’t impact his game status, and Frankie Luvu and Taylor Moton are still a little banged up but aren’t in danger of missing.
Colts Injury Report
- CB Juju Brents (quad), T Braden Smith (hip/wrist) - Out: Oof. Colts fans are feeling our pain when it comes to secondary injuries. With Brents going out for the second straight week, their cornerback options are very limited. Right tackle Braden Smith being out should also help the Panthers in what could be a rough game for their rushing defense
- LB Zaire Franklin (knee), T Blake Freelund (back), WR Josh Downs (knee), S Rodney Thomas (knee) - Questionable: Starting LB Zaire Franklin didn’t practice all week, so I think he is truly questionable, which would be good news for the Panthers running game that is trying to find its groove. Blake Freelund is their backup RT and he missed Thursday and Friday, so the Colts might be at risk of having to play a 3rd string tackle this weekend. Downs has been a spectacular rookie edition and only practiced in limited fashion this week, while Thomas is one of their starting safeties, though he was a late addition and still practiced in full Friday.
- RB Zach Moss (knee), DE Dayo Odeyingbo (shoulder/toe), TE Kylen Granson (concussion), DT Eric Johnson (ankle) - No Injury Designation: Zach Moss has had a phenomenal season and will pair with Jonathan Taylor as one of the NFL’s more productive rushing tandems, while Kylen Granson has returned as their starting TE after missing the last two with a concussion.
Should be an interesting game as both teams are dealing with injury woes in the secondary.