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Panthers 'cautiously optimistic' Newton plays Week 1

The Carolina Panthers hope Cam Newton, who left Thursday's preseason game against the New England Patriots in a walking boot, is ready for the regular season.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that after an X-Ray and other tests, the quarterback was diagnosed with a mid-foot sprain in his left foot. General manager Marty Hurney told Rapoport the team is "cautiously optimistic" that Newton will be ready for Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams.

"It's really hard to put a timeframe because it depends how he responds each day," Hurney later said, per the team's official site. "But as I said, we feel this has got a chance to come around quick enough where he'll be ready to play Week 1. We'll see how it goes."

Newton will take reps in practice this week to prepare for that Week 1 matchup, but will not play in Carolina's preseason finale on Thursday, Panthers coach Ron Rivera told NFL Network's Tiffany Blackmon.

Making his first preseason appearance, Newton limped to the sideline after taking a sack on his third series. After getting his left foot examined at the training table, the signal-caller was escorted to the locker room. He was seen after the game in a walking boot, likely as a precaution.

It's been an offseason of questions surrounding the former NFL MVP who is coming off another shoulder surgery. Newton's throwing motion looked good Thursday night, but now the Panthers are dealing with a lower-body injury to their most vital player.

The hope is that Newton will be ready in a fortnight to start a pivotal campaign in Carolina for coach Ron Rivera. If the starter isn't fully healed, it could spell trouble for the Panthers. Second-year pro Kyle Allen, who has made one NFL start, has been the backup quarterback this preseason ahead of third-round rookie Will Grier and Taylor Heinicke.

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