Carolina Panthers

Brandon LaFell Injury: Updates on Panthers WR's Head

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 21:  Brandon LaFell #11 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIOctober 28, 2012

Carolina Panthers WR Brandon LaFell left Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears in the third quarter after suffering a huge hit from free safety Chris Conte.


UPDATE: Sunday, November 11 at 12:55 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

LaFell is active on Sunday according to the NFL injury report. That isn't a surprise, as LaFell was expected to play throughout the week.

---End of Update---


UPDATE: Wednesday, November 7 at 3:05 p.m. ET

Brandon LaFell says he will play against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, according to Steve Reed of the Associated Press.

Reed tweeted on Wednesday:

Brandon LaFell on his status this week vs. Denver: "I'm good. I'm playing." LaFell missed last week's game with a concussion.

— Steve Reed (@SteveReedAP) November 7, 2012


--- End of Update ---

UPDATE: Sunday, November 4 at 11:35 a.m. ET by Ethan Grant

As expected after his doubtful designation earlier in the week, LaFell won't suit up against the Washington Redskins. Panthers beat writer Joe Person had the scoop.

Lafell down. RT @panthers_pr Today's #Panthers inactives: 7 Clausen, 11 LaFell, 15 Adams, 25 Parker, 26 D. Campbell, 93 Applewhite, 98Keiser

— Joe Person (@josephperson) November 4, 2012

Get LaFell out of your fantasy lineups if you had him as a starter for this week. Cam Newton lost a solid weapon to deploy against a below average Redskin secondary on Sunday.

---End of Update---


UPDATE: Friday, November 2 at 1:10 p.m. ET by Ryan Davenport

Though Brandon LaFell's return during the Panthers' loss to the Bears was encouraging, it's appearing increasingly likely that the WR will be ruled out for Sunday's game.

According to the Associated Press' Steve Reed:

WR Brandon LaFell is doubtful for Sunday vs. Redskins. So are Antwan Applewhite and Thomas keiser.

---End of Update---


UPDATE: Wednesday, October 31 at 3:49 p.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

Despite returning to last week's game, Brandon LaFell has been diagnosed with a concussion, according to Charlotte Observer's Joe Person

Panthers WR Brandon LaFell, who took big hit vs. CHI but went back in game, has concussion. Ron Rivera said he passed protocol during game.

— Joe Person (@josephperson) October 31, 2012

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Sunday, Oct. 28 at 3:45 p.m. ET by Matt Fitzgerald

Before Panther fans could even fathom the difficulty the team would encounter without LaFell in the lineup, he returned to the field in the fourth quarter. The Charlotte Observer's Joe Person broke the news on Twitter:

LaFell back in for Panthers.

— Joe Person (@josephperson) October 28, 2012


The Panthers have tacked on another field goal in the brief time LaFell was missing, and hold a 19-7 lead in the fourth quarter. Look for LaFell to be targeted on key third down situations with coverage rolling over to Steve Smith.

---End of update---

The helmet-to-helmet blow cost the Bears a 15-yard penalty, but the Panthers couldn't punch it in on three plays inside the 10, settling for a field goal and a 16-7 lead.

Quarterback Cam Newton threw a hot pass that sailed on LaFell just slightly, causing him to elevate to catch it. That made him vulnerable to the hit, and Conte came in to lay the lick.

LaFell lay on Soldier Field for a while, but then got up on his own power. He was sent to the locker room for further evaluation, according to Pro Football Weekly senior editor Eric Edholm.

The third-year wide receiver out of LSU is emerging into a solid No. 2 receiver opposite Pro Bowl teammate Steve Smith. His 62-yard reception earlier in the game was the longest play the Bears had given up from scrimmage all season.


Who's the backup?

Kealoha Pilares and Louis Murphy will contend for receptions in LaFell's absence. It will likely be Murphy who emerges as Newton's go-to No. 2 option, as he is more suited to play on the outside rather than the slot.

What will be hard to replace is the explosive value that LaFell brings to the offense, as he was averaging 16.4 yards per catch entering Week 8.


Devastation scale: 7-out-of-10

A noticeable improvement in the 1-5 Panthers' defense has them in a good spot to pull the upset in Chicago. If the Panthers were in a comeback situation and Newton didn't have LaFell to turn to, this rating would definitely be higher.

The ramifications of LaFell missing extended time would be another matter, but not enough is known about the extent of his injury to speculate that far ahead.


Timeline for Return

No specific timetable has been set as of yet. Thankfully, LaFell left the field on his own power despite being down on the ground for quite some time

But a helmet-to-helmet blow could easily result in a concussion, which is obviously not an issue to be taken lightly in the NFL today.

Stay tuned for more updates regarding LaFell's status.

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