Panthers don’t want to put Cam Newton out there too soon

AP

From the looks of practice Thursday, the Panthers aren’t planning on seeing much of Cam Newton tomorrow night.

But Panthers coach Ron Rivera wasn’t ready to commit to any direction Thursday, saying the ultimate determination would be made by the team’s medical staff, after head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion checked Newton out post-practice.

And even though he didn’t say any names — cough, Robert Griffith III, cough — he said he wanted to make sure they didn’t want to put Newton out there until he could “protect himself.”

“We want to learn from those things and make sure we are set and ready to go with our quarterback,” Rivera said. “I’m just saying we want to make sure when we get our guy on the field, he’s ready to roll.”

Newton’s had moments in camp where he appeared to hobble, but has pushed through. But the Panthers have long-term concerns, and Rivera voicing those on the eve of the preseason  opener makes it seem that Newton’s condition isn’t as cut-and-dried as it appeared.