CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The decision on whether a sprained right knee will keep Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater out of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions won’t be made until pregame warm-ups.
“It truly will be a game-time decision depending on how he feels and how I feel about how he feels,” coach Matt Rhule said.
Bridgewater was limited in practice Friday for the third straight day, and his official game status is questionable.
However, Rhule said he felt better about Bridgewater’s status Friday than he did 24 hours earlier in terms of range of motion and mobility, which is a positive sign.
Rhule still wants to see Bridgewater show he is able to move side to side in the pocket to protect himself before committing to having him play. Rhule will get a better idea from Saturday’s full practice but won’t make the final call until seeing Bridgewater warm up on Sunday.
“For him to play, he would have to have that,” Rhule said.
There is a scenario in which the Panthers could activate three quarterbacks for the game.
Bridgewater suffered the injury with 5:24 remaining in Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. An MRI revealed no structural damage, but Bridgewater’s range of motion has been limited. On Thursday, Rhule said Bridgewater was “extremely limited.”
Bridgewater has started every game for Carolina (3-7) this season, his first opportunity to be the full-time starter since he suffered a horrific injury to his left knee with the Minnesota Vikings during training camp in 2016.
One concern in starting Bridgewater if the right knee isn’t 100% is putting stress on the left knee and damaging that with the Vikings next on the schedule.
Bridgewater has been among the league leaders all season in completion percentage at 72.1, which currently has him second to New Orleans‘ Drew Brees (73.5). Bridgewater has 13 touchdown passes and seven interceptions while throwing for 2,552 yards.
The Panthers also will be without starting running back Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) for the second straight week and the eighth time this season, plus left tackle Russell Okung (calf) and right guard John Miller.