After Sunday’s win over the Saints, Newton said his ankle was “nicked,” and coach Ron Rivera used equally non-medical language to describe it.
“It was tweaked, and he feels pretty good today,” Rivera said Monday, via Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer. “He came in and got some pretty good treatment today. He rolled it and he’s out here walking around.”
Newton had his ankle re-taped during the Saints game, and may have been a bit limited in his mobility, rushing just four times for 6 yards. He was also off in the passing game, at least until his last-minute, game-winning drive.
“You got to be smart and judicious and make sure the situation calls for it, and [offensive coordinator] Mike [Shula] was very smart about it, very careful about it and unfortunately we missed some things is probably the biggest thing,” Rivera said. “We missed some throws. He had some guys open and he knew it and he threw them a little high but again as I said yesterday, when we ended him to come through he did.”
Keeping Newton well has been a challenge this year, as the right side of the Panthers offensive line has been a persistent liability. But the combination of Newton’s own size and strength, and Shula’s ability to call a game to keep him out of peril, they’ve gotten him through this far.
Getting him well and earning a bye (which they can do with a win Sunday at Atlanta or a Saints loss) will help that much more.