Panthers.com reporter Max Henson was the first report that Cam Newton did not join the rest of the team for practice this morning. He did not offer a theory as to why, only that Rivera has his regularly scheduled press conference this afternoon.
Enter NFL.com reporter Tom Pelissero who is now suggesting that Newton “aggravated a foot injury.” This is likely the same left foot sprain that held Newton out of practice for the last ten days of the preseason and obviously limited, regardless of what has been told to the media, Newton’s mobility and effectiveness in the first two games of this season.
This might secretly be good news for both Newton and the Panthers
Newton’s accuracy in the Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be reasonably described as atrocious. I argued last week that he could still be recovering from one or both of his previous injuries and still knocking off rust from the preseason. Rust that he would have knocked off by now if he hadn’t missed so much practice time due to this foot sprain.
We now have stronger evidence that his performance last Thursday was colored by this foot injury. If he can rehab this appropriately without missing much, if any, more time then Newton has a greater chance of returning to the form that we, as Panthers fans, know and love.
This is probably actually bad news
For one, aggravating this injury only proves how hard it is to heal while practicing and playing football. Given how short an NFL season is, any time missed by Newton will only further aggravate the Panthers other injury: their 0-2 record.
At best, Newton only needs a few days and he is off to the races. At worst, he misses a few weeks and the Panthers are clawing for their very survival by the time he returns. At least, that should be the worst case scenario. Last season showed how the Panthers balance the health of a mildly to severely injured Newton against the chance, however slight, to win football games.
That leaves us with nothing but crossing our fingers
A best case scenario of Newton getting his feet back under him and proving that he still has at least a few years left on his career and a worst case of the Panthers over-using him at an ill-advised time leaves a lot of room in between for this situation to unfold. Stay with us as we keep a close watch on this story. We will do our best to relay to you both the information that the team releases and what our eyes tell us whenever we get the chance to see Newton on a field.