Peppers says he'll play

Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers missed his second straight day of practice on Thursday with a shoulder injury (and an illness), but his teammates say he'll play in Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Seattle Seahawks.

"It's not a concern," said defensive end Mike Rucker. "Guys are going to get nicked up. You have to get in the treatment room and let your body rest and heal back. I know what type of guy he is. He has played with injuries before and I feel like he will be fine."

Added safety Mike Minter: "Oh he'll be back."

Peppers stood on the sidelines watching practice in sweats on Thursday, but then left early.

Afterward, head coach John Fox said that along with a shoulder injury Peppers is suffering from an illness, a victim of the flu bug that has made its way around the Panthers locker room in recent weeks. It has really hit Carolina's defensive line hard in recent weeks and defensive tackle Jordan Carstens is also getting over a similar bug.

Peppers was spotted leaving the stadium in the early afternoon with a bag full of Gatorade.

Minter said the fact that Peppers may miss the entire week of practice doesn't really matter at this point in the season.

"If you ain't got it by now, you ain't getting it," Minter said with a laugh. "You can afford at this point in time to miss a couple of practices. He's played enough. He isn't going to get rusty just from a few days off."

Fox said Peppers was held out of practice to rest his shoulder, not because of the illness.

He wouldn't speculate on whether or not he expects Peppers to play on Sunday. Peppers is still listed as questionable on the injury report.

Among the other injuries, defensive tackle Kindal Moorehead (ankle) missed his second straight day of practice and also remains questionable.

The Panthers upgraded offensive linemen Jeff Mitchell (knee) and guard Tutan Reyes (toe) and fullback Brad Hoover (ankle) from questionable to probable after they practiced on Thursday. Defensive tackle Jordan Carstens (illness) and safety Mike Minter also practiced and are listed as probable.

"We'd prefer them out here at practice, but you deal with this," Fox said. "There are guys who miss practice all the way through the regular season and all the way through the playoffs."

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