Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton questionable, in last step of co - | WBTV Charlotte

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton questionable, in last step of concussion protocol

After sitting out Monday’s game against Tampa Bay and being limited on Wednesday (shown), Cam Newton practiced without limitations on Thursday and Friday. (John D. Simmons | The Charlotte Observer) After sitting out Monday’s game against Tampa Bay and being limited on Wednesday (shown), Cam Newton practiced without limitations on Thursday and Friday. (John D. Simmons | The Charlotte Observer)
CHARLOTTE, NC (Joseph Person/The Charlotte Observer) -

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game at New Orleans and has one final hurdle to clear in the concussion protocol.

But Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he expects Newton to start Sunday against the Saints – “barring a setback.”

Rivera said Newton is scheduled to visit the independent neurologist Friday afternoon, the final step in the NFL’s protocol before a player returns to game action.

Newton practiced without limitations Thursday and Friday after missing Monday night’s 17-14 loss against Tampa Bay.

The Panthers hope a healthy Newton can help end a three-game losing streak that has left them with a 1-4 record and in last place in the NFC South.

“It’s going to be great to have Cam back. He’s our guy. He’s who he is,” wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. said. “And without his presence out there, yes, it was missed. And we’re going to love to have his presence back out there. I know he wants to be back out there. He’s a fighter. He’s a competitor.”

The Panthers will be missing three starters against the Saints – cornerbacks James Bradberry (toe) and Robert McClain (hamstring) and left tackle Michael Oher (concussion).

Defensive tackles Vernon Butler (ankle) and Paul Soliai (foot) also are out.

Rivera said defensive end Wes Horton, who was re-signed Friday, would be active Sunday because of the injuries along the defensive line.

“We have a guy you can hedge your bets with, that can play inside or outside for us,” Rivera said. “We’re very fortunate Wes was out there.”

In addition to Newton, three other players are listed as questionable – running back Jonathan Stewart (hamstring), wideout Kelvin Benjamin (knee) and defensive end Charles Johnson (quadriceps).

All are expected to play in the Panthers’ last game before their bye week.

“We’re hoping to get a whole bunch of these guys back. Get our guys back and ready to roll,” Rivera said. “The bye’s coming at a good time for us. We’ve got a list of (injured) guys that have all started or played a lot for us.”

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