Rivera hopeful Newton will play Sunday

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton has one more step to pass in the concussion protocol, but Ron Rivera says feels very good about his status for Sunday's game.

"As a coaching staff, you want to get that answer as soon as possible but we're on (the doctor's) time frame. I'm not interfering with it. When the doctors give me the complete ok, let's get rolling, then we're ready to go. That's why Derek Anderson took snaps," Rivera said.

Newton fully participated in his second practice Saturday after suffering a concussion late in the fourth quarter against Atlanta. His first day back at practice was Wednesday, but he was limited.

When asked if Newton was set to start barring any setbacks, Rivera responded, "Barring the setback, yeah. He's in the protocol."

The Panthers also listed wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (knee), running back Jonathan Stewart (hamstring), and defensive end Charles Johnson (quad) as questionable for Sunday's game.

"We'll see how everybody is come tomorrow and whenever we find out about Cam's status with the protocol we'll just keep going from there," Rivera said. He added that he felt good about all the players listed as questionable.

The Panthers have five players out for Sunday's game, including two cornerbacks. Starter James Bradberry (foot) missed last week's game against Tampa Bay, pushing Robert McClain into the starting role. This week both Bradberry and McClain (hamstring) are out versus New Orleans.

"You play the guys that are available. That's all we can do, that's the truth of the matter. So we'll go from there," Rivera said.

Daryl Worley will start at cornerback, along with either Zack Sanchez or Teddy Williams.

The Panthers will also be without defensive tackle Vernon Butler (ankle), tackle Michael Oher (concussion), and defensive tackle Paul Soliai (foot).

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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