It sounds like Cam Newton will be able to avoid offseason shoulder surgery. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Panthers quarterback doesn’t have any structural damage to his throwing shoulder (Twitter link). This means Newton won’t have to undergo surgery (or deal with the accompanying rehab) during the offseason.
While Newton only recently acknowledged his shoulder injury, Rapoport says the quarterback had been dealing with pain through the second half of the season. This clearly had an impact on his production; over his past three games, Newton threw only two touchdowns vs. six interceptions (he had thrown seven interceptions in his team’s previous 11 games). The Panthers decided to shut down their franchise quarterback, allowing Taylor Heinicke to take over as the starter.
Unfortunately, the former undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion also suffered an injury during yesterday’s loss to the Falcons. Head coach Ron Rivera said Heinicke will undergo an MRI on his elbow today (via ESPN’s David Newton on Twitter). The quarterback was briefly knocked out of yesterday’s game after suffering an elbow injury, but he returned and managed to finish the game. He ended up completing 33 of his 53 pass attempts for 274 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. He also added 33 rushing yards.
If Heinicke is unable to go during the team’s season finale against the Saints, Kyle Allen would likely earn the starting nod. The rookie quarterback had a brief cameo during yesterday’s contest, completing all four of his passes for 38 yards. Newton notes that activating Newton “doesn’t sound like an option.” Joe Person of The Athletic tweets that the team could also consider adding signal-caller Garrett Gilbert, who was cut by the team prior to the regular season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.