Newton (knee) is throwing passes Tuesday at the start of OTAs, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer reports.
Newton suffered ligament and cartilage damage in his right knee during a Jan. 7 playoff loss to the Saints, but he never left the game and finished with 349 passing yards and two touchdowns. Despite avoiding surgery, there was some concern Newton would be limited or absent from team activities this offseason. While it isn't clear if he's back to 100 percent, his participation in OTAs would seem to put him on track for full clearance at some point before the start of training camp. Newton will be playing with a new-look offense that added RB C.J. Anderson and WRs Torrey Smith, Jarius Wright and D.J. Moore (a first-round pick) during the offseason. The team did suffer a big loss with the departure of LG Andrew Norwell, along with smaller losses in RB Jonathan Stewart, TE Ed Dickson and WR Russell Shepard. Meanwhile, Norv Turner is replacing Mike Shula as Carolina's offensive coordinator, with the stated goal of getting Newton's completion percentage into the 60s for the first time since 2013, ESPN.com's David Newton reports.
Newton (knee) avoided offseason surgery, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer reports.
Newton injured his right knee during an opening-round playoff loss to the Saints, and while it didn't prevent him from finishing out the contest and throwing for 349 yards, an MRI the next day revealed ligament damage, cartilage damage and extensive swelling in the knee. The Panthers haven't provided substantial information since that time, other than confirming that Newton avoided surgery. It won't come as any surprise if he's limited or absent when the team begins its offseason program in mid-to-late April.
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, Newton 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. Speaking of that, 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.
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