Cam Newton might be in jeopardy of missing the Carolina Panthers’ opener against the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 8.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said “there is no timetable” for the quarterback’s return, two days after Newton suffered a left mid-foot sprain in a preseason game against the New England Patriots. Newton exited the stadium in a walking boot and X-rays detected the sprain.
General manager Marty Hurney expressed hope Newton will play in the opener. Rivera wouldn’t go that far, only declaring he is “cautiously optimistic” that Newton will soon be on the practice field.
“There really isn’t any timetable, but we’re going to do everything we can to make sure it’s right and ready to roll,” Rivera said after Saturday’s practice. “What we’re going to do is take it day by day because there is no timetable. So we’ll begin to focus in on what we need to as time progresses.”
The Panthers returned to the practice field on Saturday but Newton remained inside for treatment on his foot.
“The doctors feel the more we keep him off of it, the more we keep it elevated, we’re expecting it to take care of itself quickly,” Rivera said.
Rivera said Newton would have missed the preseason finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday regardless. Newton had offseason shoulder surgery and Rivera has been mindful of the amount of throwing he does leading up to the season.
“Things are going great with his shoulder,” Rivera said. “So the best part is he’s getting a chance to rest. We’re putting the positive spin on it.”
Kyle Allen, who started one game last season, ran first string in the Saturday quarterback rotation. Will Grier, a third-round pick out of West Virginia, received an even amount of work, and Taylor Heinicke, who played in six games (one start) last season, also saw action.
Rivera said the club won’t work out any unsigned quarterbacks.
“We feel really good about what we have,” Newton said. “We like what we’re seeing. There have been some good things about decision making that have been pretty good. The progress you see, especially in practice — I know it’s not a game — but you see the growth.
“That’s what we’re trying to do is develop the one or two guys that are going to be here a while with Cam.”
Allen said that he is preparing to the starter.
“I always prepare that way,” Allen said. “If you don’t prepare that way you’re going to be underprepared. Whether or not Cam is going to be ready — hopefully, he’s going to be ready — but ready or not I’m going to be prepared.”
The 30-year-old Newton completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 3,395 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 14 games last season. He missed the final two contests due to the shoulder injury.
—Field Level Media