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Cam Newton to play first half vs. Patriots

Panthers coach Ron Rivera plans to play Cam Newton and the rest of his starters for the first half of Friday's exhibition at New England.

Newton played five series in Sunday's win against Kansas City in his first action since March surgery to tighten the ligaments in his left ankle. Newton led the Panthers to touchdowns on his final two series before giving way to backup Derek Anderson late in the second quarter.

Rivera said the hope is to keep Newton in for the entire first half against the Patriots, as long as there are no setbacks with the ankle.

"They're still going to get some good reps, some quality reps," Rivera said Wednesday. "I hope we can get a two-minute drill at the end of the first half with that bunch, as well."

The Panthers could be without the starting right side of their offensive line at New England. Right tackle Nate Chandler is out with swelling in his knee, while guard Trai Turner has missed the past two days of practice with a groin injury.

Rivera said Turner would be re-evaluated Friday.

Veteran Garry Williams will replace Chandler. Chris Scott, who started eight games at right guard last year, would step in for Turner, the rookie from LSU.

Other injury notes:

--Rookie free safety Tre Boston returned to practice, but worked mostly on the side. Boston had missed all but one of the previous preseason practices after aggravating a sports hernia.

--Outside linebacker Chase Blackburn remains sidelined with a back injury, but Rivera said surgery has not been discussed.

--Starting cornerback Melvin White was held out after his back stiffened up Wednesday morning.

--Backup offensive lineman Andrew McDonald left the two-hour practice early with apparent heat-related symptoms.

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