Cam Newton has hairline fracture in ribs, could miss season opener

Cam Newton won't play in the Carolina Panthers' preseason finale Thursday, and there's a chance he could miss the first week of the regular season after he was diagnosed with a hairline fracture of his ribs. 

Panthers coach Ron Rivera made the announcement on Sunday and said he "thinks" Newton will be ready for the season opener at Tampa Bay on Sept. 7, but he also added that Newton is "week-to-week."

Newton made his preseason debut Aug. 17 and has struggled in two games. The Panthers' first-team offense has scored zero points with Newton under center in five drives. 

Rivera was asked after the 30-7 loss to New England on Friday if he planned to play Newton and the first-team offense in Carolina's preseason finale. 

"Yes, we will play them. You know, to me it is very evident that we've got to get them out there. We've got to get our quarterback out there on the field and he’s got to get some timing with those guys," Rivera said. "He missed a couple throws, we had some guys that were open that he overthrew and we’ve just got to continue to work with him. The more snaps he gets, the better."

Cam Newton injured his ribs against the Patriots on Friday. (USATSI)
Cam Newton injured his ribs against the Patriots on Friday. (USATSI)

Obviously, with Newton now ruled out for Thursday's game at Pittsburgh, that means the Panthers will have to turn somewhere else. Carolina's backup quarterback is Derek Anderson, but he might not be around for this week's game. 

Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer summed up the team's quarterback situation nicely. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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