Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was expected to begin throwing during minicamp practices this week, but that’s not happening now. Instead, the team is playing it safe, reverting back to his original timeline of recovery, which was estimated at 12 weeks after he underwent surgery to repair damage to his shoulder.
“Last week, head coach Ron Rivera was hopeful when asked if Newton would start throwing on the side with head trainer Ryan Vermillion during the team’s three-day minicamp that begins Tuesday,” wrote Bill Voth of the team’s website. “But Rivera, who’s admittedly optimistic when it comes to injuries, got ahead of himself by one week.”
This isn’t necessarily a setback. While there’s no doubt Newton would have enjoyed throwing this week during practices, they won’t represent a significant development in terms of developing chemistry with his teammates. Newton still was going to be throwing on the side, even if he had started throwing this week.
Carolina is smart to take it slow, here. A healthy Cam Newton represents the best chance the team has of making another run at the Lombardi Trophy after coming so close in 2015. Of course, sporting a competitive defense will also help. But Newton is the single most important player the Panthers have on the roster. They’ll go as far as he can take them. Period.