Cam Newton underwent surgery on this throwing shoulder in January, and at the time there was no timetable for his return to the field.
Now we know. The Panthers quarterback had graduated to throwing a regulation-sized football in recent weeks, according to the Charlotte Observer‘s Jourdan Rodrigue, and now, via the team’s website, Newton is scheduled to throw during all quarterback drills during the team’s three-day minicamp, which begins Tuesday.
“This is all part of the rehab process,” head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion said. “Cam has worked extremely hard this offseason with his rehabilitation and his preparation. He’s going to continue the throwing program Tuesday and we’ll advance it as we monitor his progress. He’s achieved every milestone we’ve set out for him so far in preparation for this. …
“Cam’s confidence level is up because he’s pain-free,” he continued. “He feels good about where he is right now — but we’re not done. This is one more step in our process as we get him ready for 2019.”
Quarterbacks coach Scott Turner added: “[Newton]’s done an outstanding job with his rehab and just being accountable to get his shoulder in the best shape possible. Mentally, with me in the classroom, he’s just been great. He understands how important all of this is. He’s progressing and he’s excited about it. We all are. He’s got a chance to have a really great year.”
Newton’s shoulder injury was to the point last season that the Panthers would pull him in Hail Mary situations, and by Week 15 he was struggling to throw the ball 10 yards downfield.
At the time, Newton admitted he didn’t have “the strength” or “the range of motion” in his shoulder and that there was no quick fix. “It doesn’t matter how much you push,” he said in mid-December. “Ice, anti-inflammatories you take … I mean, trust me, I did it. Acupuncture. Massages. It’s just not been a time that (a) night has gone by without me getting some type of work done on my arm.”
Now, almost six months later, Newton is expected to throw at minicamp. And if all goes well, and he’s healthy ahead of the regular season, it’s reasonable to think that the Panthers can return to the playoffs after a disappointing 7-9 campaign in 2018.