Cam Newton, the star Carolina Panthers quarterback, will undergo surgery Wednesday on his left ankle that will sideline him for four months. The operation will minimize his ability to practice much of the offseason, which is critical as the team implements new players to its offense.
The Pro Bowl quarterback has experienced persistent soreness in his ankle since the end of last season.
”The ankle was sore after the San Francisco game and we wanted to see if rest would calm it down, but it is still bothering him and the decision was made to address it,” Panthers trainer Ryan Anderson said in a press release.
The surgery will be performed by Panthers team physician Robert Anderson at Carolinas Medical Center. If all goes as expected, Newton could return before training begins at the end of July. But the franchise quarterback’s condition will be monitored carefully. The team does not want to rush Newton back onto the field. At the same time, he will need more work with a new fleet of receivers for the upcoming season.
Newton led the Panthers to a 12-4 record last season and the NFC South championship. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl. But Newtow will lead a new offense for 2014. The Panthers released Steve Smith, the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions and Newton’s most reliable, big-play target in a salary cap-related move last week. Brandon LaFell, the team’s other starter last season, signed with New England in free agency while top reserves Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon signed free agent deals with Arizona and Chicago respectively.
The Panthers haven’t signed any free agent receivers this offseason, although they did recently visit with Jerricho Cotchery from the New York Jets.
This past season Newton threw for 3,379 yards with a career-high 24 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. He also led the Panthers on five come-from-behind victories in the fourth quarter. In three seasons, Newton has thrown for 11,299 yards passing with 64 touchdowns and 42 interceptions. He’s also run for 2,032 yards and 28 touchdowns.