Ron Rivera relieved after news of Cam Newton’s procedure

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Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said earlier this week his right shoulder was “better than I thought it would be,” after an arthroscopic procedure, and his boss was also encouraged by what he has seen and heard.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera told Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer that the scope gave the team some confidence about Newton’s condition moving forward, but also some answers about the problem that made him ineffective the second half of the season and unavailable for the final two games. Rivera said the procedure involved removing excess scar tissue, and that no other problems were found by the scope.

“I was there on one of his recovery days when [Newton] was working out with [head athletic trainer] Ryan Vermillion,” Rivera said. ”And one of the things he did say was that he has gotten a lot of range of motion back. So that was exciting to hear. . . .

“[Last year] he’d say that when he’d load up the throw, he’d feel a tug or a pull. So he knew something was wrong. But we didn’t know exactly what.”

As the season progressed, Newton clearly wasn’t able to throw deep (at least not effectively), and Rivera talked to him about it after the Week 13 loss to Tampa Bay.

“Everything came up just a touch short,” Rivera said. “After that game, I really worried about him. But I’d come see him and talk to him the next day, and from the depths of despair he’d come back up and was so positive. And that’s him, that’s his personality.”

Knowing he might be back to form is good news, because the Panthers were 6-2 and one of the hottest teams in the league at one point last season, with Newton registering a career-high completion percentage even with the sore arm.