Cam Newton can still feel the “thump” in his ankle

AP

The Panthers have remained optimistic, but the pain in Cam Newton’s ankle hasn’t gone away just yet, a reminder he’s not quite 100 percent.

No one really expects him to play tonight in their opener against the Bills, with coach Ron Rivera saying yesterday he wanted to make sure Newton could “protect himself.”

But after having surgery in March to tighten loose ligaments in his ankle, Newton’s clearly not ready to run as he normally would, with few such chances in training camp. He said Thursday he can tell there’s still something there.

It’s like a thump from your mom when you said something that you weren’t supposed to, she’ll thump you dead in your ear or on your head,” Newton said, via the Charlotte Observer. “It’ll hurt for that little second but it’ll go away after 2-3 minutes. It’s a reminder that, hey, you better check yourself.”

Newton said he still wanted to play, but was “sticking to the program.”

With question marks at offensive tackle, and against a Bills team that features a very good defensive line, the prudent play is to work out the kinks up front with Derek Anderson, and give Newton the time he clearly needs.