Newton or Anderson to start for Panthers Sunday vs. Browns?

Derek Anderson started at quarterback for the Panthers while Cam Newton recovered from injuries suffered in a car accident.

Kim Klement/Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers coach Ron Rivera says he’s awaiting final clearance from team physicians before officially naming Cam Newton the starter for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

That clearance is expected to come Saturday.

The fourth-year quarterback practiced Friday for the third straight day and Rivera says he feels "very confident and comfortable" that Newton will start Sunday, 12 days after a two-vehicle wreck left him with two lower back fractures.

Rivera says the only way Newton wouldn’t play is if he suffers an unforeseen setback this weekend, but added the quarterback "has had no ill affects every morning" this week.

Newton said Thursday he feels pain-free.

The Panthers (5-8-1) are still in contention in the NFC South, one-half game behind the New Orleans Saints with two games remaining.