Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton skips on-field practice while rehabbing ankle

Before Wednesday’s practice, Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera wanted to temper the potential hysteria from quarterback Cam Newton being tardy to practice.

The reigning NFL Coach of the Year pulled a handful of media members aside on the practice field and said Newton would be late to the field, but that he was inside the stadium rehabbing his ankle.

Newton didn’t ever make it to the two-hour practice, one week after he threw on a limited basis, but Rivera promised the team had not scaled back Newton’s rehab process.

“No. Now’s a different phase,” Rivera said after Wednesday’s organized team activities session. “The further along he gets the more he gets to do. So we’re at a point now where (team trainer) Ryan (Vermillion) wanted to keep him in and do some more of those things that they need to do.”

Newton worked on the underwater treadmill Wednesday and didn’t finish in time to join the team. He’s just more than two months separated from ankle surgery that tightened ligaments in his left ankle after he could still feel the effects following Carolina’s January playoff loss.

Last week, Newton showed up to practice in a red No. 1 jersey, though he got a ride on the cart and walked to the field with a slight limp. He threw on the sideline to equipment managers, and after practice he threw to four teammates from a stationary position.

The timetable for his return remains the start of training camp in late July.

Newton missed last Thursday’s OTAs as he was in Atlanta for his foundation’s 7-on-7 tournament. He’ll be in Los Angeles on Friday for a live segment on SportsCenter, where the winner of the Madden ’15 cover will be announced. Newton is a finalist along with Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman.

Newton is expected to address local media next week at OTAs.