Newton suffered a knee injury during the Panthers' playoff loss to the Saints that will require offseason rehab, but no surgery, ESPN.com reports. Per Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer, an MRI of Newton's knee the day after the Panthers' wild-card loss to the Saints revealed ligament and cartilage damage, as well as "very extensive swelling." This injury nugget surfaced in conjunction with the league's determination that the Panthers did not did not violate the NFL's concussion protocol relative to their assessment of Newton during the Jan. 7 tilt. In addition to his knee issue, Newton also suffered an eye injury during the contest, but according to the league's findings, he did not sustain a concussion. In any case, the QB will now have the entire offseason to recover from his aches and pains, though it will be worth monitoring his status once the Panthers resume on-field activities in order to see if he's past his knee woes at that time.
Newton completed 24 of 40 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's 31-26 NFC wild-card loss to the Saints. He also rushed eight times for 37 yards. Newton was outstanding in Carolina's narrow defeat, passing for his second-most yardage in any game this season while committing no turnovers. Along with his two touchdown tosses, which included a 56-yard connection with Christian McCaffrey, Newton had a perfectly thrown pass dropped in the end zone during the first quarter. Following a turbulent recent stretch through the air, the former MVP was on point Sunday, when he also provided his usual punch on the ground. Although he was knocked out for one play during the fourth quarter after being poked in the eye, Newton was able to return following medical evaluation. On that subject, now that his season is over, Newton figures to benefit from the opportunity to finally rest the throwing shoulder he had surgically repaired last offseason. While that procedure ultimately didn't cost him any action this term, it put Newton behind the curb to kick off the campaign, when he finished with 3,302 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, and rushed for 754 yards and six more scores.
Newton (shoulder) practiced in full Thursday, Steve Reed of the Associated Press reports. Newton finished Week 17 in Atlanta with his worst QB rating (31.5) of the season, which may have been the impetus for cutting short the maintenance of his right throwing shoulder. As evidence, he typically didn't log a full practice until his final day of prep during the regular season. In line for two such sessions prior to the Panthers' wild-card contest at New Orleans, he may want to avoid any rust in the do-or-die scenario.
Newton completed 14 of 34 passes for 180 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in Sunday's 22-10 loss to the Falcons. He also gained 59 yards on 11 rushes and fumbled twice. Newton was far from his sharpest in a game in which he could have helped deny the division-rival Falcons a playoff spot. The former MVP fired three second-half interceptions, with the first two resulting from particularly poorly thrown balls. Newton had been limited with a shoulder injury early in the practice week, so his throwing motion could have been somewhat compromised. Irrespective of this possibility, Newton heads into an NFC wild-card showdown against the Saints next Sunday in the midst of a prolonged passing slump. The 28-year-old has thrown for fewer than 200 yards in five of his last six contests, and seven of his last nine overall. He's also completed well under 60.0 percent of his passes in five games during the latter span, but he's kept the Panthers afloat with his strong rushing performances. He'll likely need to step up his production through the air against New Orleans, however, considering Carolina dropped both regular-season matchups with them this season, with Newton throwing three interceptions in one of those contests.
Newton (shoulder) doesn't have a designation on the final injury report for Sunday's game in Atlanta. Per usual, Newton was limited Wednesday and Thursday before returning to a full practice Friday. The Panthers are limiting his reps to reduce the stress on his surgically-repaired right arm. Newton completed 13 of 24 passes for only 137 yards against the Falcons in Week 9, but he made up for it with nine carries for 86 yards and a touchdown in a 20-17 victory.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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