Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had an arthroscopic procedure on his right shoulder Thursday, the team announced.
The procedure was performed by Panthers team physician Dr. Pat Connor.
Newton will immediately begin the rehabilitation process, which is expected to last through the spring. The Panthers are hopeful that Newton will be fully ready to participate in training camp ahead of the 2019 season.
It is the second shoulder surgery in three years for Newton. He had surgery to fix a partially torn rotator cuff in March of 2017.
Without going into detail, a league source told the Observer that the procedure was a cleanup, not a repair.
That, and the fact that the process happened sooner than Newton’s previous surgery, shortens his potential recovery timeline — although the team did not provide one in its release.
In 2016, Newton partially tore his rotator cuff in Week 14 of an already-doomed 6-10 season, but continued to play through the injury. He didn’t have the surgery until March, after first attempting to rest and rehabilitate the injury, and was limited throughout the spring, training camp and the 2017 preseason.
This year, Newton went on the team’s weekly injury report in Week 8 with shoulder soreness, and was limited in practices for the rest of the year. He went on what head coach Ron Rivera called a “pitch count”, meaning his throws in practice were carefully measured to preserve his shoulder.
He did not play the final two games of the season, and did not participate in practices those weeks. The Panthers finished 7-9 and played three different quarterbacks in Weeks 16 and 17.
The Panthers’ medical staff has monitored Newton and his shoulder closely since his first surgery, and over the past month has mulled his best options for recovery. Surgery ultimately clarifies Newton’s status in 2018, but also helps solidify what the team’s moves in the offseason must be in regard to a backup quarterback.
Newton opened up about his continued shoulder pain in December, saying he had “tried everything” treatment-wise since his original surgery to get his shoulder feeling good, but there was clearly no magical fix.
“It doesn’t matter how much you push,” he said. “Ice, anti-inflammatories you take. ... I mean, trust me, I did it. Acupuncture. Massages. It’s just not been a time that (a) night has gone by without me getting some type of work done on my arm.
“We just don’t have the strength, from the range of motion.”
Newton also indicated at the time that the types of hits he takes and the amount of throws per game had some effect on his shoulder health.
“You work on the range of motion, and then come game time, you never know how it’ll kind of play out,” he said. “You try to stay under 25, 30 throws, but if it’s past that, or if you get hit on it, or you have to run, or you get tackled and you fall on your shoulder, certain things happen. That’s the game of football.”
Panthers owner David Tepper met with a small group of reporters earlier this month and discussed Newton among other team-related topics. At the time, Tepper said he did not know whether Newton would need a second surgery.
“The only thing that’s safe to me to say is from our people inside and his people on the outside. There’s a lot of people looking to figure out what’s the best course of action,” Tepper said. “Hopefully, he’ll be better and good in the first game of the year.”