Panthers lose Kuechly, Whittaker to injuries

In this photo taken Aug. 28, 2015, Carolina Panthers' Luke Kuechly (59) stretches before a preseason NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Charlotte, N.C. A person familiar with the situation says Luke Kuechly has agreed to a five-year $52 million contract extention with the Panthers, making him the highest-paid middle linebacker in the NFL. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, on condition of anonymity because the move hasn't been announced. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly and running back Fozzy Whittaker left the Panthers’ game Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles because of injuries in the first half.

Kuechly, the former Associated Press NFL defensive player of the year, came out after he took a hit near his neck and left shoulder from Eagles offensive lineman Brandon Brooks.

Kuechly paused to squat down after the play with about 5 minutes left in the second quarter, then walked to the sideline for trainers to test the range of motion in his neck before he jogged into the locker-room tunnel.

Kuechly missed six games last season after suffering his second career concussion.

The Panthers also lost Whittaker in the first quarter due to an injury to his right ankle. Whittaker was taken to the locker room on a cart.

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