NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported Thursday that it appears unlikely Bridgewater will start Sunday against the Lions due to an MCL sprain, per sources informed of the situation.
Bridgewater has been officially limited in practice the past two days, and the Panthers haven't made a final call on his status, but he's headed towards sitting, Rapoport added.
Coach Matt Rhule said that Bridgewater was been extremely limited but is moving around and jogging.
"He's preparing as if he can play," Rhule said.
When Bridgewater spoke to the media on Thursday, he didn't offer much detail in regard to his status for Sunday, only that he was grateful it was not a more serious injury.
"We haven't decided on anything. Just taking it one day at a time," Bridgewater said. "I'm very happy that it wasn't as serious, thankful. And then I'm just taking it one day at a time. "
The signal-caller exited Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay late in the contest.
Former XFL star P.J. Walker replaced Bridgewater last week, completing 2 of 4 passes for 12 yards. He and Will Grier have been splitting reps in practices. Rhule told reporters he probably would wait until Saturday or Sunday to name a starter if Bridgewater can't go.
Bridgewater has led an efficient offense in Rhule's first season in Carolina. The QB ranks second in the NFL, completing 72.1 percent of his passes and sits seventh in passing yards with 2,552. Only Bridgewater and Russell Wilson rank in the top-seven of both categories.
After a 3-2 start, the Panthers have lost five straight games. Without Bridgewater, breaking that streak becomes harder.