4 Carolina Panthers players who need to return from injury ASAP

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers OLB

No player has been missed more than Shaq Thompson on defense. The outside linebacker has been one of the team’s top performers before inury struck and the Carolina Panthers have evidently regressed in his absence.

Thompson looks like a new player this season. It was a significant period of adjustment for the former Washington star in 2020 without Luke Kuechly alongside him at the second level, but he’s bounced back well and become the leader this unit was craving following the perennial All-Pro’s shock retirement.

The energy Thompson displayed before getting hurt was outstanding. This was matched by exceptional instincts that allowed him to be around the football consistently and make some huge plays.

It remains to be seen whether Thompson will be ready to go this week.

The Panthers won’t want further complications to emerging by decaring him fit ahead of schedule. So it’s something to keep a close eye on in the lead-up to their importat clash at the New York Giants.

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Thompson’s production and leadership are essential to this young Carolina team. This inspirational presence cannot be ignored and his absence has undeniably impacted how the Panthers are performing on defense.