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Panthers' Cam Newton has hairline fracture in ribs

Coach Ron Rivera intended to play Cam Newton in the preseason finale to knock the rust off of the Carolina Panthers' first-team offense.

"It was very evident that we've got to get (Newton) out there," Rivera said, via the Black and Blue Review blog. "We've got to get our quarterback out on the field, and he's got to get some timing with those guys."

That plan went awry on Sunday when it was discovered that Newton has a hairline fracture in one of his ribs.

X-rays following Friday night's game came back negative. An injury originally thought to be a contusion in Newton's back has now been identified as the fractured rib.

Rivera announced, via the team's official Twitter feed, that Newton will not play next week. The Panthers are confident that their franchise quarterback will be leading the offense in Week 1 at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The offseason maneuvers left most football analysts worried about Carolina's wide receiving corps and offensive line. After watching Newton go scoreless on five drives versus the PatriotsFriday night, there has to be early-season concern about his quarterback play as well.

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