National Football League
Anxiety following Cam Newton's wreck calmed by encouraging injury news
National Football League

Anxiety following Cam Newton's wreck calmed by encouraging injury news

Published Dec. 9, 2014 7:55 p.m. ET

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When word started leaking out shortly before 1 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon that star Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was involved in a two-car accident and that he may be seriously injured, social media and the texting lines in the Carolinas erupted.

Fans and media alike tried desperately to get as much information as they could. And when photos first emerged of his black SUV, which flipped four times, according to witnesses, many feared for the worst.

"I was very anxious about his health," Panthers fan and Concord, N.C., resident Kristen Swift said. "And given how banged up he's been all year, I was concerned his (hairline fractured) ribs were more injured."

Newton is listed in fair condition and is spending the night at Carolinas Medical Center, where doctors will do further tests to determine whether there is any internal damage. As it stands now, Newton has two transverse process fractures in his lower back. It's the same injury sustained by Dallas quarterback Tony Romo earlier in the season. That injury kept Romo sidelined for one game.


Dr. James Romanowski, an orthopedic sports surgeon not affiliated with the hospital in which Newton is staying, said whether or not Newton plays at any point during the rest of the season is all dependent on how much pain he can withstand. It's highly improbable he'll play against Tampa Bay.

Officials believe Newton, who is in his fourth season, was headed to the stadium on his day off to watch game film in preparation for Sunday's game.

The Panthers sit at 4-8-1 and are just a half-game out of claiming first place in the NFC South Division and making the playoffs. With three games to go, having Newton on the field could be the difference for Carolina between making the postseason and watching it from home.

It's been a difficult season for Newton, who hasn't been healthy for much of it.

He had surgery in March to tighten some ligaments in an ankle, but the recovery time has taken months longer than expected. Newton has even stated that he likely wouldn't have had the surgery had he known it was going to take this long to heal. Then, in a preseason game against New England, Newton sustained a cracked rib after getting hit while scrambling from a pass rush. The injury caused him to miss the opening game of the season at Tampa Bay.

After his performance at New Orleans on Sunday in which he played his best game of the season in leading Carolina to the blowout win, many thought he was set to be the Newton of old.

"After Sunday's win, I thought the bad news was behind Cam," said Steve Lyerly, who considers himself to be a die-hard Panthers fan. "Today just seems to fit an injury theme this season. First, it was his ankle then his ribs and how his back.

"But I'm glad he wasn't hurt worse. But it's still tough."


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