CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One question is still surrounding the Panthers as OTAs kicked off this week: When will quarterback Cam Newton be cleared to throw?
Newton wasn’t throwing when the Panthers opened OTAs this week, but he did participate in drills and was active with the team. Coach Ron Rivera isn’t concerned, though, as he explained there still isn’t a timetable for when Newton will be able to throw.
“There really is no plan in terms of when to expect something to happen. What they’re doing is taking it day by day, week by week and evaluating,” Rivera told reporters Wednesday. “They’ll just continue to go through the process and there is no timeframe.”
The veteran quarterback struggled with shoulder pain in his throwing arm last season, which ultimately hampered his ability to throw downfield as he was shut down for the Panthers’ final two games after Carolina fell out of playoff contention.
Newton underwent surgery at the end of January and has been optimistic throughout his rehab process as the 2019 season approaches. He initially had the same shoulder surgically repaired in mid-2017.
.@RiverboatRonHC on the plan for Cam Newton in the off-season and not throwing in OTAs:
“It’s not that big of a deal…” pic.twitter.com/mqLWcLNMpl
— WFNZ-AM/FM (@wfnz) May 22, 2019
As for whether Newton will be ready for the start of training camp? Rivera said he’s “very optimistic.”
“I think he’s done a great job,” Rivera added. “Everything that I’ve seen tells me that he’s doing a great job and we’ll just continue to go forward with it until we’re told we can or can’t do it. … With the exception of throwing the ball physically, he does everything else.”
Tight end Greg Olsen also didn’t seem worried about Newton’s throwing arm as he explained, “When he’s back, he’ll be back.”
“It’s the situation that we’re in and so you can’t do would’ve, could’ve, should’ves,” Olsen said. “Injuries are part of the NFL. We’ve dealt with it before and he has a plan that he’s going to follow that everyone feels good about.”
Newton, 30, said earlier this month that he’s “feeling great” and his rehab from the surgery is going “unbelievable.”
“I feel like I do have full strength right now. But me telling the doctor, that is different than, you know, whatever the clearance process may be,” Newton said (via ESPN).
“Rehab is going unbelievable, especially for me during a time now, a lot of uncertainty. For me, the human side of me is uncertain as well. But with the support cast from RV, the head trainer and other people that have been working with me hands on daily, I have no doubt I’ll be ready to rock and roll when they expect me to be back.”