Cam Newton is slowly but surely working his way back to full health for the Carolina Panthers after offseason ankle surgery and as a result head coach Ron Rivera is unsure if his franchise quarterback will play in the team’s preseason opener on Friday evening.
Newton insisted earlier in training camp how he was not at 100 percent and still had a ways to go before he was completely healed from the surgery he had in the offseason, so it may be wise to hold out the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and let him heal without risking a setback.
“We don’t know the plan yet for Cam for Friday,” Rivera said, per the Panthers official site. “It’s all based on what RV and the doctors think and how Cam feels. Once we get past … Thursday morning, we’ll find out how he is after the practice and we’ll sit down and talk and make a decision on what we want to do, in as far as he’s concerned, in terms of playing time.”
Even if Newton were to suit up and play in the opener against the Buffalo Bills it would be for a series or two at the most where he would be handing the ball off, so why risk the health of the franchise?
Newton helped guide the Panthers to the NFC South title in a rebound third season for the former Heisman winner out of Auburn as Carolina earned the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs behind his dual-threat ability a strong defense led by Luke Kuechly.