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Josh Norman being tested for concussion; DeAngelo Williams' cast removed

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman suffered a concussion in Sunday’s 31-24 victory over the Chicago Bears and is undergoing the NFL’s protocol to determine when he can return to the field.

According to the league policy, a player feeling normal one day after the game might pass a cognitive testing on Tuesday and begin a light exercise program that will be intensified on Wednesday.

If all signs are positive, that player can participate in all non-contact aspects of practice on Thursday and return to full practice on Friday. Once a team doctor signs off on a player’s return, the player is evaluated in person by an unaffiliated concussion expert approved by the NFL and NFL Players Association.

The process often forces the player to sit out the following week’s game. Coach Ron Rivera said he had not spoken to team doctors and would know more on Wednesday.

The Panthers (3-2) play at Cincinnati on Sunday, so in all likelihood they’ll prepare with Melvin White as the starter.

Norman made his first start since 2012 on Sunday. He replaced White, who was benched the previous week against Baltimore after giving up two first-half touchdowns to former Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith.

Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said he was pleased with White’s play against Chicago. White, in for 75 percent of the snaps, finished tied for fourth on the team in tackles with four. He also was credited with one pass defensed.

As for the rest of Carolina’s injuries, Rivera said starting running back DeAngelo Williams (high ankle sprain) had the cast removed from his right foot on Sunday and would be re-evaluated later in the week.

Rivera said running back Jonathan Stewart (knee sprain) was more likely to return this week than Williams.

Backup running back Fozzy Whittaker (quad) was activated against Chicago, but did not play. Rivera said Whittaker was ready only in an emergency situation.

The Panthers likely will go into the Bengals game with undrafted rookie Darrin Reaves, Whittaker and Chris Ogbonnaya as they did against Chicago. Carolina ranks 30th in the NFL in rush offense.

Also, rookie nickel back Bene' Benwikere sprained an ankle against the Bears after just 16 snaps.