Panthers quarterback Cam Newton having ankle surgery, with 4-month recovery time

jjones@charlotteobserver.comMarch 18, 2014 

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Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) will have surgery on his left ankle on Wednesday, with a recovery time that could be as much as four months.

DAVID T. FOSTER, III — dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com Buy Photo

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will undergo ankle surgery Wednesday that has an expected recovery time of four months, the team said Tuesday.

The injury, to his left ankle, has persisted since Carolina’s win at San Francisco on Nov. 10.

Team physician and renowned ankle surgeon Dr. Robert Anderson will perform the procedure at Carolinas Medical Center.

“The ankle was sore after the San Francisco game and we wanted to see if rest would calm it down, but it is still bothering him and the decision was made to address it,” Panthers head trainer Ryan Vermillion said in a statement.

According to a team spokesman, the ligaments in the ankle had been stretched out, and the procedure will tighten them. The timeline puts Newton out until the start of training camp in late July, meaning he will miss organized team activities this spring.

The ankle has given Newton, who had his most successful season as a professional, pain this offseason. Newton passed for 3,379 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on a career-high 61.7 completion percentage, leading the Panthers to a 12-4 record in 2013.

After initially experiencing soreness after Carolina’s Week 10 win at San Francisco, Newton said he “nicked” his ankle in the 17-13 win against New Orleans in Week 16.

“How it feels right now, it won’t even make for enough ink for a story,” Newton said on four days after the Saints game. “Whether it’s feeling great right now, feeling bad right now, come Sunday it will be at high-octane performance.”

Newton played the following week against Atlanta in the regular-season finale and rushed a season-high 12 times for 72 yards. The Panthers received a first-round bye as the NFC’s No. 2 seed in the playoffs and, in a rematch against the 49ers, Newton rushed 10 times for 54 yards in the loss.

In the Pro Bowl, Newton rushed twice – once for a 1-yard touchdown and another when he recovered a fumbled snap. He was sacked four times.

Newton has since traveled to New York for Super Bowl festivities and resumed his studies at Auburn, where he is taking three credit hours this semester. Last week he went on vacation in the Caribbean.

The Panthers recently re-signed backup quarterback Derek Anderson to a two-year deal, and the team also has quarterback Matt Blanchard, who was on the practice squad last year.

News of Newton’s impending surgery broke Tuesday afternoon on WFNZ, a local sports radio station. A caller, who referred to himself as “Rick,” said his wife, whom he claimed was a nurse, told him Newton would have ankle surgery performed by orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

“Rick” was mistaken about the doctor being Andrews, who is the Washington Redskins team physician and renowned orthopedic surgeon. Anderson, the Panthers’ team physician and doctor at OrthoCarolina, has performed ankle surgeries on a number of star athletes, including New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Indianapolis Colts receiver Hakeem Nicks and Panthers center Ryan Kalil.

“It is OrthoCarolina’s policy not to comment on active cases in order to ensure the privary of our patients,” an OrthoCarolina statement read. “Dr. Robert Anderson is widely respected in orthopedics and has a long history of successfully treating athletes at the professional level.”

Jones: 704-358-5323; Twitter: @jjones9

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