Carolina Panthers

Panthers’ Rivera says Newton won’t be full participant in OTAs

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton won’t be a full participant in offseason workouts after undergoing shoulder surgery scheduled for Thursday, but he will be involved.

“He’ll be able to do a lot with the exception of throwing,” coach Ron Rivera told the NFL Network on Monday night. “Everything we do, he’ll be involved.”

That’s key because it will allow Newton to be involved in meetings and as a spectator in workouts as Carolina evolves the offense so he’s not as involved in the running game out of the read option.

Rivera said after a 6-10 season that the offense had to evolve for the long-term health of Newton, who has been sacked or hit 922 times. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is second during that span at 615.

“He’s not as young and nimble as he used to be,” Rivera said after the season. “We have to be smart about that and think about other ways to use him.

“You can’t sit there and expect us to run 20 zone reads and then expect him to carry the ball say 10 out of 20 times.”

Rivera also told the network he has no doubt that the 2015 NFL MVP will be ready for training camp. Team doctors have mapped out a rehabilitation program that will have Newton throwing 12 weeks after the surgery and throwing with teammates four weeks after that.

“It’s not like it’s a major surgery or anything that has to be done, from my understanding,” Rivera said. “It should be one of those things that should be done and it should heal up quickly.”

Newton was listed as limited on the injury report over the final three weeks of the season because of the shoulder. Rivera said at the time an MRI on the shoulder was clean.

Head trainer Ryan Vermillion said last week when the surgery was announced that the MRI revealed a partial tear of the rotator cuff. The medical staff attempted to let the injury heal with rest and rehabilitation, but when Newton recently experienced soreness, it was decided to move forward with the surgery.

“And he had been having such a good offseason, and then it just plateaued, I guess,” Rivera told the network. “So there was a little thought, ‘Now is a good time if any if we’re going to do it.’ So that’s what they decided.”

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