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Cam Newton injury: Panthers QB fractured rib vs. Patriots

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He should be ready for the regular season, but at what cost?

The Panthers loss to New England in the team's third preseason game has greater ramifications than rattling fan confidence with the news Cam Newton suffered a hairline fracture to one of his ribs and will miss the upcoming game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Head coach Ron Rivera is confident Newton will be available for the regular season opener vs. Tampa Bay, but the injury is a stern reminder of just how dangerous preseason play can be for franchise quarterbacks. On Saturday night Rams quarterback Sam Bradford tore the ACL in left knee for the second straight year and will miss 2014.

In the scheme of things a rib injury like this is fairly minor, but fans have become accustomed to seeing niggling injuries become far-greater than their initial prognosis. If Newton is unable to play the Panthers are in good stead at the quarterback position with Derek Anderson being a reliable backup option and Joe Webb showing a lot in preseason, but it is worrying.

The Panthers should take as much time as they need to ensure their quarterback is fully healthy before returning to the field. This rib injury paired with his surgically-repaired ankle are disconcerting, but it's far too early to fear for the season.

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