Cam Newton underwent surgery on a troublesome ankle injury last week and it has been revealed that he has been dogged by the ligament problems since his college days.
The Carolina Panthers quarterback was having more trouble than usual in his recent workouts and a trip to the doctor identified the problem as being more serious than one coach Ron Rivera said he has managed for some time. After undergoing surgery on Wednesday, Newton is expected to be out for up to four months and will mean he misses much of the NFL offseason.
Panthers head coach Rivera said he was not worried about Newton missing most of the offseason with a much changed wide receiver set and revealed it was an injury that has been known about since his days at Auburn.
"Every year rest, treatment was part of the rehab program," Rivera is quoted as saying in an ESPN.com report.
"This year they went through the program, and when he started working out it just wasn't feeling right, so he went and saw the doctor."
"All we know is that every year he's done this, he's rested it, he's treated it and he's gotten better. This time it didn't get better fast enough, so they went ahead and looked at it."
Newton will be allowed to get back to throwing sooner than the four months he has been told the surgery rehabilitation will take, but he will still be absent for most of the Panthers' offseason preparations - Rivera wasn't about to panic about the lack of practice times with the new receivers.
"There will be a time when they'll get an opportunity to work together, so I'm not worried about that," he added.
Some Panthers fans may be feeling a bit worried, however, as this is a new set of receivers and one of the team's most effective offensive players has left. Steve Smith was controversially cut by Carolina this month and has since joined the Baltimore Ravens, while the all three of Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon left on free agency.