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December 19, 2014

Rivera 'very confident' Newton will start vs. Browns

The Carolina Panthers put Cam Newton through several physical tests during Friday's practice, and the Pro Bowl quarterback gave the team no reason to think he won't be ready for Sunday's game against Cleveland.

Newton is officially listed as probable, but Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he's "very confident" in Newton's ability to start a game with major playoff implications for the Panthers.

"He did a lot of turning and twisting today. We put a lot of pressure on it," Rivera said. "We had him do some things on purpose, and he seemed to be right on track. He's had no ill effects every morning."

Newton missed last week's win against Tampa Bay after sustaining two fractures in his lower back during a two-car accident Dec. 9 in uptown Charlotte. It was the second game he's missed this season after sitting out the season opener at Tampa with cracked ribs.

But Newton practiced all week, taking the snaps with the first-team offense Thursday and Friday.

"We're pointed in the right direction," Rivera said. "Good things have happened. He's done a lot of positive things."

Newton will continue to use the flak jacket he's worn since cracking his ribs during an August exhibition at New England. Rivera said the training staff believes the flak jacket will protect the lower-back injury Newton sustained in the car wreck.

In other injury news, running back DeAngelo Williams (broken bone in right hand) is listed as questionable, but likely will be used as an emergency back, Rivera said.

Williams has missed the past two games and is still experiencing discomfort in the hand.

"He's still uncomfortable," Rivera said. "We don't want to put him in a situation where he takes a shot and he's done."

Outside linebacker A.J. Klein also is questionable with an ankle injury.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on December 19, 2014 at 01:56 PM | Permalink


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