Newton could return this week: NFL Panthers

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton could take his first snap since undergoing shoulder surgery in this week's pre-season game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, coach Ron Rivera said Tuesday.

Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, is battling back to fitness after going under the knife in March to repair a damaged rotator cuff.

The 28-year-old, who led the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015-2016 before an upset loss against the Denver Broncos, injured his shoulder towards the end of last season.

Newton has sat out the Panthers pre-season games so far but has taken part in team drills this week, putting him in the frame for Thursday's game against the Jaguars.

"You could see the timing coming back," Rivera said of Newton's performances on the practice field.

Rivera indicated he would make a final decision about Newton on Wednesday.

Newton passed for 3,509 yards with 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 15 games last season for the Panthers, who finished the season with a disappointing 6-10 record to miss out on the playoffs.