Matt Rhule Provides Injury Update on Okung, Kirkwood, Others

Schuyler Callihan

Coming into training camp, the Carolina Panthers roster as a whole seemed to be in a pretty good spot in terms of health, but as training camp goes on injuries are bound to pop up here and there. 

During Sunday morning's practice, offensive tackle Russell Okung was seen being taken off the field with team trainers and did not return, per Joe Person of The Athletic. 

Shortly after the team's practice, head coach Matt Rhule met with reporters and provided an update on his status.

"We practiced him [Okung] for like three-quarters of the practice and then Kevin [King] wanted at the end to take him down and make sure he was working in the pool to finish practice. He's had some lower-back tightness coming off of the offseason, so we've just been smart about that and not making him go the full practice, but getting him more ready each day."

Although Okung's exit sparked a level of concern, Rhule says that it was a planned exit to continue getting treatment. "According to the trainers, they told me they were going to take him. Sometimes Russell pushes it a little further and says 'hey I want to go a little longer', but yeah he is probably going to do that the next week or so."

Rhule also mentioned that wide receiver Keith Kirkwood and tight end Temarrick Hemingway are both dealing with injuries as they were not seen on the practice field today. 

"Kirkwood is out right now with a shoulder clavicle injury and will be out for several weeks and Hemingway is out right now with a head injury and is day-to-day."

Kirkwood is entering his first year with the Panthers after having spent the previous two seasons in New Orleans, where he hauled in 13 receptions for 209 yards, and two touchdowns. He also missed some time last year with a hamstring injury.

Today's earlier signings of wide receivers Tommylee Lewis and Marken Michel, alongside tight end Andrew Vollert likely have to do with Kirkwood and Hemingway going down.

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