SPARTANBURG, S.C. - When the Panthers stepped back onto the practice field Friday afternoon, their quarterback took another step back from shoulder soreness.
Newton fired passes to receivers during an individual period early in practice, his most extensive work since sitting out most of the team's July 30 practice. Newton, returning from offseason surgery on his throwing shoulder, participated in Carolina's first four training camp practices but stopped throwing early in the fifth practice.
After nearly a week of no throwing to rest the shoulder, Newton threw passes to head athletic trainer Ryan Vernillion on the side for a couple of practices - the same way he started out once he was cleared to begin throwing in mid-June. He then tossed some passes to injured rookie receiver Curtis Samuel the day before the Panthers headed back to Charlotte for Wednesday's preseason opener.
After the game, head coach Ron Rivera said Newton threw before the game and would throw again Thursday, suggesting that exactly what happened Friday was a possbility if all went well.
"Like I've been telling you guys, it's just a matter of time," head coach Ron Rivera said. "He just continues to do his workouts with the training staff, and each day as he continues to progress, he'll throw more and more."
Rivera said it's too early to say whether Newton will throw in any of the Panthers' three remaining preseason games. The focus remains on September 10 and the regular season opener at the 49ers.
"I'm going to listen to exactly what the trainers and doctors tell me as far as that's concerned, but we'll see," Rivera said. "I'd be OK with it (if Newton didn't play in the preseason), but we're going to do exactly what the trainers and doctors tell us to do."