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Panthers' Cam Newton undergoes shoulder surgery

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Cam Newton went under the knife on Thursday.

The Panthers announced that their franchise quarterback underwent an "arthroscopic procedure" on his right shoulder. The surgery was performed by team physician Dr. Pat Connor.

The team said that Newton will begin his rehabilitation process immediately. It's unclear how long that process will be.

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported that this is not a "major surgery" for Newton, all things considered, and that while Carolina is reluctant to put a timeframe on his recovery, the Panthers are hopeful that Newton "isn't sidelined long."

This is Newton's second shoulder surgery in less than two years. The Panthers QB underwent surgery on a partially torn rotator cuff in the same shoulder in March of 2017.

Newton saw his season cut short by a lingering shoulder injury with two weeks to go and Carolina all but out of the playoff hunt. The Panthers QB's accuracy and arm strength were notably hampered down the stretch, and Newton was parked on the sideline in favor of Taylor Heinicke in Week 16 and Kyle Allen in Week 17.

The Panthers signal-caller completed a career-high 67.9 percent of his passes in 2018 for 3,385 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

This news comes just nine days Panthers owner David Tepper told local media that while Newton's shoulder was a "concern," he was unsure whether the QB needed surgery. Tepper even invoked the trials of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who sat out the entire 2017 season to recover from shoulder surgery only to return fully healthy in 2018 to lead Indianapolis back to the postseason.

"If you told me that [Newton] took a year off and could be fully recovered and everything else and that's what it took, an extra year, why wouldn't you do that?" Tepper said to reporters. "Now, we would have to do other things and we'd have to go out and get another quarterback, which, if you could find me some more cap space, I'd appreciate that."

While it's unclear what the extent of the "procedure" was and how long Newton will be shelved ahead of the 2019 season, it's fair to wonder how Cam's injury and surgery will affect the Panthers' offseason roster-building.

Will Carolina look to acquire a sturdier backup QB than the impending free-agent Heinicke or the sophomore Allen through free agency or trade in case Newton isn't ready to start the season? Will the Panthers try to acquire a one-year starter like Nick Foles or Teddy Bridgewater if they choose to shut Newton down? 

The 29-year-old Newton has two seasons left on a five-year extension he signed in 2015, his second contract with the organization.

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