NFL

Panthers optimistic Cam Newton will play in season opener after foot injury

Panthers fans can take a deep sigh of relief after the team announced they are cautiously optimistic Cam Newton will be ready for the season opener.

When quarterback Cam Newton arrived in New England for the Panthers third preseason game, he was 100 percent healthy after coming off shoulder surgery earlier in the summer. Later in the night, he left Gillette Stadium with a foot injury, leaving his status for the season opener vs. the Los Angeles Rams unclear.

Per ESPN, Newton has a foot sprain and that the Panthers are “cautiously optimistic” for a Week 1 return. So Newton will now be tasked with rehabbing a foot injury after recently finishing his shoulder rehab which required him to adjust his throwing motion all offseason.

Any amount of missed time is a huge blow to the Panthers, who are looking to get off to a fast start, similarly to last year. Cam Newton is the heart and soul of the team, and along with Christian McCaffery, [they] are the engine that makes the offense go.

The Panthers and Newton appeared to have avoided a serious injury. For the Panthers that’s good, for Newton that’s good. Unless he isn’t ready to go, then the Panthers are in big trouble.

Behind Newton on the Panthers depth chart are quarterbacks Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen & rookie third round draft pick Will Grier. A group that has a total of two regular season starts coming from Heinicke and Allen in Weeks 16 and 17 last year, respectively.

In a tough division which features an improved Bruce Arians led Buccaneers team and a Falcons team itching to prove they can get back to the playoffs, the Panthers can ill afford any setbacks. And let’s not forget the Saints, who were a blown pass-interference call away from representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.

There’s always the risk for injury with playing starters in the preseason. That’s why organizations give starters minimal reps when it comes to game action. For Newton, the injury happened on a play where he was forced out of the pocket and tried to evade multiple defenders. It becomes times like this where Newton needs to be smarter and get down and save himself from the risks meaningless playing time.

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