Saints QB Derek Carr clears concussion protocol, could play vs. Panthers

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Saints quarterback Derek Carr cleared the concussion protocol on Friday evening, increasing the liklelihood that he'll start on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

Carr, who left New Orleans' 33-28 loss to Detroit last week with a concussion as well as shoulder and rib injuries, was listed as questionable on Friday's injury report.

However, he participated — at least on a limited basis — in every practice this week.

“I have felt better, but I'm doing great,” Carr, who was concussed twice in 22 days, said after clearing the protocol.

“I don't really have any concerns,” Carr added. "Our doctors and the non-affiliated doctor said everything was perfect."

Carr's injury came after he'd been booed repeatedly by the Superdome crowd when taking the field, starting in pre-game warmups and throughout much of last Sunday's game.

Aided by an interception on Carr's first pass of the game, the Lions raced to a 21-0 lead in the first seven minutes. New Orleans got as close as 24-21 before Carr lost a fumble on a fluky play in which guard James Hurst knocked the ball from the quarterback's hands. That turnover set up another Detroit touchdown.

As Carr discussed returning to the Superdome field this Sunday, he shrugged off the negativity emanating from the home crowd.

“It’s a part of the game sometimes, especially when you’re losing a football game the way we were losing,” Carr said. “But I was proud of the way we fought back and turned those things into some loud cheers.”

Carr said preparing for this week's game required more of a time commitment than usual because of his various ailments.

“I got my treatment, I did my protocol stuff, but I also, most importantly, made sure that I did everything I need to do to accomplish my job,” Carr said. "I always believe to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice your gift, so I’m never going to give anything less.

“The work will get done,” Carr continued. “Maybe it will get done a little later than usual, but whatever it takes, you’ve got to get the work done.”

NOTES: Multi-position player Taysom Hill was listed as questionable with hand and foot injuries after not practicing this week. Also questionable was leading receiver Chris Olave, who missed practice on Thursday and Friday with an illness. Saints coach Dennis Allen said Olave was involved in the game plan remotely during meetings, but was asked to stay away from team headquarters to minimize the risk of spreading his illness to teammates.