The setting might have changed for the Carolina Panthers, but questions about the health of quarterback Cam Newton's left ankle persist.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Newton would play at least the first quarter of Sunday night's nationally televised exhibition against Kansas City. Rivera has said previously Newton would not run the zone read against the Chiefs.
During Thursday's shorts-and-helmets practice, the Panthers' first in Charlotte since breaking camp at Wofford on Tuesday, Newton participated in every drill. He motioned for head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion early in the two-hour practice, although Newton later said the conversation was routine.
Newton, who had surgery to tighten the ligaments in his ankle in March, was held out of last week's exhibition opener against Buffalo.
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Rivera said he doesn't want to play Newton too much against the Chiefs, fearful Newton might aggravate the injury while trying to do too much.
"We'll see," Rivera said when asked about Newton's playing time. "Right now the initial plan is to get him into the first quarter and then go from there."
Rivera said strong safety Roman Harper, who has missed two weeks with turf toe, would not play against the Chiefs. The status of defensive end Charles Johnson, who returned from a hamstring injury Thursday, is uncertain.