Panthers optimistic Cam Newton will start on Sunday
Ron Rivera is reportedly taking the decision to play Newton this weekend one day at a time.
The Carolina Panthers managed scrape by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers without Cam Newton in Week 15 and, as amazing as it sounds, took over the top spot in the NFC South. The Panthers’ playoff hopes have been boosted even more by the news that Newton could be back on the field this week.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the Panthers are optimistic that Newton, who suffered minor fractures in his lower back last week in a car accident, will be ready to play against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said the quarterback’s status is day-to-day and that he will not rush to a decision.
“I’m not making any decisions until I get the opportunity to watch him on the football field, listen to what the trainers and doctors have to tell me, and then we will make our decision,” Rivera told The New York Times on Sunday. “But to make any judgment right now would be premature and would be a mistake.”
Newton escaped serious injury when his pickup truck was struck and rolled over last Tuesday afternoon in Charlotte. He was diagnosed with two transverse process fractures in his lower back, the same type of injury that cost Tony Romo just one game earlier this season.
Backup Derek Anderson threw for 277 yards and a touchdown in the win over the Bucs, which moved Carolina to 5-8-1. Once left for dead, Carolina now controls its own fate heading down the final stretch of the season.