The likelihood is that Cam Newton’s going to play this week, despite the soreness from a hairline fracture of a rib.
But the facts remain, the Wednesday before the opener, that the Panthers quarterback didn’t throw a pass in the portion of practice open to the media, and was listed as not participating on the injury report filed to the league.
“I expect him to be there [against the Bucs], and we’ll see how it all unfolds,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “We’re going to approach this day-by-day, but I’m an optimist. I always look at things half full. I’ve been wrong before, but we’ll see.”
Newton normally talks to reporters on the Wednesday of game weeks, but didn’t today. And while he was in an apparent good mood during practice, he was also wearing a large flak jacket with extra padding.
He said last week “there’s not a doubt in my mind,” about playing against the Buccaneers.
But now there’s at least a seed of doubt, one Rivera is happy to cultivate, as the regular-season gamesmanship begins.