Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers protecting Cam Newton as he recovers from ankle injury

Cam Newton is taking every rep he’s supposed to through the first four practices of training camp, but he’s still not doing everything observers have seen him do the past three years.

There are no designed runs or scrambles, and he’s not taking a seven-step drop and cranking the ball down the field after March surgery to surgically repair his left ankle.

Newton called his ankle a “semi-flat tire” that he’s trying to get pumped back up. There’s no timetable for when that will be.

“There has not been a timeline set and I don’t think you can put a timeline on a particular injury like this,” Newton said. “It’s just a work in progress. One day it feels better than the next, and that’s the only thing I’m striving to do. I just know that I’m putting myself in a position that when it’s time for my number to be called – in the game – I will be ready to go.”

Newton was on the exercise bike after practice Sunday to get a cardiovascular workout since the team is keeping him from running this preseason. He said the bike is a replacement for him running around.

His ankle hasn’t limited his a leadership role with the team. Newton arranged a three-day workout in Greensboro with his receivers a week before training camp, and he’s had conversations with embattled defensive end Greg Hardy.

Hardy was found guilty on July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats. Newton, in response to a question about how he’s dealt with Hardy, said the team is getting closer.

“The talks that we need to have, the conversations that we need to have, have been great,” Newton said. “We don’t need to have this conversation about Greg Hardy. I will refuse to have a conversation about Greg. Greg understands, he’s a grown man. And I don’t need to remind everybody how important he is to this team. He knows that and understands that. And I think that’s the first step with seeing an increase of leadership, with him knowing and understanding and holding himself accountable.”