Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton out of hospital

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was released from Carolinas Medical Center around 11:15 a.m. Wednesday after spending nearly 22 hours in the hospital.

Newton, who was involved in a two-car collision less than two blocks from Bank of America Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, suffered a fractured back, and he left the hospital with stiffness and soreness.

“He’s going with his family to recuperate,” said Charlie Dayton, the Panthers director of communications, outside of the hospital Wednesday morning. “His spirits were high. They expected stiffness and soreness, and his recovery will be day-to-day.”

Newton, whose playing status for the Panthers’ home game Sunday against Tampa Bay is uncertain, thanked fans for their well wishes and the hospital staff for his care.

The other driver in the collision, identified by police as Nestor Pellot Jr., was treated and released from Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, according to hospital spokeswoman Robin Baltimore.

Police have not cited either driver in the crash, although two witnesses listed in the official collision report said Pellot appeared to pull out in front of Newton.

When contacted at his home Wednesday, Pellot shook his head when asked if he would talk about the collision.

The Panthers’ Dayton said doctors performed tests, including a CAT scan, on Newton on Tuesday, and he stayed overnight for observations. Newton did not suffer a concussion from the collision, Dayton said.

Newton left the hospital with his parents. He’s not expected to be at the Panthers’ facilities Wednesday, which is the Panthers’ first practice of the week as they prepare to play Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Newton suffered two transverse process fractures as a result of the accident. The injury does not typically result in structural damage but is rather a matter of pain tolerance.

Tuesday’s violent collision sent Newton’s black 1998 Dodge truck tumbling sideways across a bridge over the John Belk Freeway (Interstate 277) in uptown Charlotte. The truck came to rest on the passenger side, its roof flattened.

Newton, who had been headed to Bank of America Stadium a block away to study game film on a day off, appeared dazed after crawling out a shattered rear window.

South Church and West Hill streets, where the accident happened, is becoming one of Charlotte’s most hazardous intersections. It ranked fourth this year on the city’s list of places where crashes are most likely to occur. It ranked eighth last year and 17th in 2012, records show.

As many as 15 motorists have been injured in wrecks there since 2009, records show.

A witness to Tuesday’s accident, Tony Douglas, said he was walking on Church Street when he saw a Buick sedan and Newton’s truck collide.

Douglas said the truck was heading south on Church and the sedan was crossing Church from Hill Street when they collided. Douglas said he ran to the truck and saw Newton inside.

Afterward, he said, Newton “was alert. He was in pain.”

Pellot’s 2013 Buick, which bore temporary Georgia license tags, had heavy damage to its front-right side, with the hood buckled and bumper torn off.

Observer reporter Karen Sullivan, who was walking south on Church Street, said she saw the truck travel over the top of the sedan and become airborne for a short distance, rolling side over side when it landed.

The windows shattered before the truck came to rest, Sullivan said. Newton lifted himself out through the back window and staggered over to the side of the bridge, where he waited for medical help.

Newton, lying on a sidewalk in black workout clothes, was treated on the bridge for at least 20 minutes. He and Pellot were strapped to backboards and in neck braces before being loaded into ambulances.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo fractured two transverse processes in his back in an Oct. 27 game against Washington, according to media reports, and missed the team’s next game. Panthers officials wouldn’t comment on Newton’s football status but were privately doubtful he could play in Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay.

The Panthers drafted Newton No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL draft. Panthers coaches and front office executives have referred to Newton as their franchise quarterback.

In his fourth season, Newton has the Panthers (4-8-1) a half-game out of first place in the NFC South. Newton has twice gone to the Pro Bowl, and he’s in the final year of his rookie deal. He will make $14.667 million next season with the Panthers, who picked up his fifth-year option in the spring.

Observer staff writers Elizabeth Leland, Bruce Henderson and Joseph Person contributed.

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