Carolina Panthers: Surgery on Cam Newton’s ankle successful

jjones@charlotteobserver.comMarch 19, 2014 

Surgery to tighten ligaments in Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s left ankle was successful, the team announced Wednesday.

Newton had surgery at Carolinas Medical Center on Wednesday afternoon, and team physician and renowned ankle surgeon Dr. Robert Anderson performed the surgery.

Newton’s expected recovery time is four months, which means he should be ready for training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., in late July.

“Dr. Anderson did not find anything unexpected in the procedure and the surgery went well,” Panthers head trainer Ryan Vermillion said in a statement.

Newton experienced soreness in his ankle after the playoff loss to San Francisco on Jan. 12. He spent a half-hour in the trainer’s room following the game.

He played in the 2014 Pro Bowl on Jan. 26. He and the trainers believed rest would allow Newton’s ankle to heal, but as the ankle continued to give him pain throughout the offseason, Newton opted for surgery.

The Panthers will not have Newton for organized team activities in the spring, and the team will go into OTAs with backup Derek Anderson and last year’s practice squad quarterback, Matt Blanchard. Carolina could also add another quarterback for OTAs.

LaFell signs off: Former Carolina receiver Brandon LaFell’s perceived slight of Newton brought enough blowback that he has sworn off Twitter for a month.

LaFell signed a three-year, $9 million contract with the Patriots recently, and in a conference call with New England reporters LaFell said joining a winning organization with an elite quarterback was a big draw to him in free agency.

“I had a chance to play with a Hall of Fame quarterback (in New England’s Tom Brady),” LaFell told reporters, according to ESPN.com. “One day Cam will be there probably but he’s not there now.

“I feel like it was a better chance to come up here and get more balls and win than it was in Carolina. Nothing against those guys. It’s a great organization and those guys are going to win, but it’s proven up here, man. We were winning last year in Carolina. These guys were winning up here the last 10-plus years. So why not come to a winning organization?” 

Many Panthers fans took LaFell’s comments as a slight toward Newton and the organization, and they were quick to point out LaFell struggled with drops throughout his four-year career in Carolina.

“U right Cam didn’t make me drop balls nor did I say he did.” LaFell posted on his Twitter account. “So please continue on with your day thank you.”

Minutes later, he told his 25,000-plus followers that he would be taking a monthlong break from Twitter.

Moses to visit: The Panthers will visit with Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses on Friday, according to a league source.

Moses, a 6-foot-6, 311-pound tackle, started in 43 games in his four-year career with the Cavaliers, and he’s projected to be a late-first round to early-second round selection. He tweaked his hamstring early during Virginia’s Pro Day on Monday and did not finish his workout.

The Panthers have the 28th pick in the first round of the draft, which begins May 8.

What can Brown do: Also, according to a league source, at least one Panthers coach was at Ohio State on Wednesday to work out Buckeyes receiver Corey Brown.

The 5-foot-11, 178-pound Brown led Ohio State in receiving the past two seasons, and he’s expected to be a late-round selection or go to undrafted free agency.

Cone drill: The Panthers will work out former Falcons receiver Kevin Cone on Friday, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report.

Cone, a 6-foot-2, 216-pound receiver from Georgia Tech who joined the Falcons in 2011, has dealt with injuries in three years in the league. Cone played mostly special teams in 2012 and caught one pass for 12 yards in 2013.

The Jaguars are also reportedly interested in Cone.

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

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