The Carolina Panthers are expected to have Cam Newton on the field on Sunday as the quarterback was able to go through a full practice Saturday with no setbacks to his injured ribs.
Newtown took first team reps in Saturday’s walk through and barring any unforeseen setbacks is expected to start in Sunday’s season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Newton was injured after New England Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins kneed him in the back at the end of a 7-yard run in a preseason game. Newton sat out all of last week’s practices.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Newton has progressed well in his recovery, noting that on Friday he looked good taking full throws.
“I do feel better. He did take the next step, kind of what we were hoping, especially in light of how he felt the other day,” Rivera said. “There was some concern obviously coming into practice. But he just seems to be getting stronger right now.
“So again, we’re going to evaluate him, watch the (practice) tape, see how he looked to make sure he’s technically and fundamentally sound, that he’s not favoring anything. That’s the other thing we’re going to be smart about.”
Rivera said Sunday can still bring quite a bit of uncertainty, however.
“There’s some things you can’t measure, and that’s how he’s going to react if he gets hit. There’s some things that we can’t tell,” Rivera said. “So when we make our decision come Sunday morning, it’s going to be based on how we feel he’s done the last couple of days, how he feels in terms of handling what we want to do with the game plan and whether or not we believe he’ll be able to protect himself if he does take a shot. Again, this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”
If Newton was unable to play the Panthers would turn to backup quarterback Derek Anderson.
While he is expected to play, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Bucs.