Cam Newton to have surgery on throwing shoulder

It turns out Cam Newton will undergo surgery after all.

The Carolina Panthers quarterback will have surgery on March 30 to repair a partially torn rotator cuff suffered against the San Diego Chargers in Week 14, Max Henson of the team's official website reported Tuesday.

Newton is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

Newton did not miss any games after suffering the injury, despite the Panthers being out of playoff contention.

Panthers head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion told Henson the plan is for Newton to start throwing with the team 16 weeks after surgery, which should happen in mid-July.

"The thing we need to stay away from the most is throwing, but he will start immediately with range of motion and rotator cuff exercises," Vermillion said. "The positive thing, unlike when he had ankle surgery, is that he will still be able to work on his conditioning, work on his core, work on the rest of his body.

"Twelve weeks following surgery, Cam will begin an early throwing program with me. If he progresses well he will start throwing with the team at 16 weeks after surgery and we'll go from there. Our goal is to have him back at the start of training camp."

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Newton wouldn't need surgery and had positive reports about his offseason conditioning. Ultimately he'll undergo the knife.

Vermillion said offseason rehab of the shoulder didn't come along as planned, necessitating the surgery at this stage.

"We developed a plan for Cam to take a period of rest, a period of rehabilitation and treatment, and then start a gradual throwing program the first part of March," Vermillion said. "Cam started his program, and the early parts of his rehab had been going well. However, as we worked to advance him into the next stage -- the strengthening stage, the throwing stage -- he started to have an increase in his pain level and started having pain while throwing.

"As a result, Dr. Pat Connor (head team physician) felt the most prudent procedure would be to arthroscopically repair the shoulder."

Newton took a pounding last season and dealt with the shoulder issue down the stretch of the season, which limited his practice reps. Newton was sacked 36 times last season, ninth-most in the NFL. The 6-foot-5 physical specimen also rushed the ball 90 times, a career low. The constant beating took its toll on the 2015 MVP, and the shoulder injury clearly affected his already iffy accuracy at the end of the season.

The injury is one reason Rivera has harped all offseason that he'd like to see changes to the offense that avoid the face of the franchise from taking so many hits. To that end, the Panthers will lessen the number of designed run calls. Protecting Newton in the passing game also led Carolina to give a massive offseason contract to left tackle Matt Kalil -- which has been widely critiqued in NFL circles.

Before any of those changes on the field take place, Newton must first come through rehab unscathed.

Henson also reported defensive end Charles Johnson (back) and receiver Damiere Byrd (knee) will also undergo surgery. Both are expected to be ready for training camp.

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