Quarterback Cam Newton is listed as questionable for the regular-season opener Sunday but head coach Ron Rivera said he expects Newton to start for the Carolina Panthers against the San Francisco 49ers.
Newton, who had surgery on March 30 to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, was limited in training camp. He played only one series -- a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive when he completed both of his passes for 21 yards and a TD -- during Carolina's four preseason games.
"I think he's ready,'' Rivera said. "You wish he'd had a few more snaps and played a little bit earlier in the preseason so we'd have more to go on. But what we saw, we liked.
"We liked how everything seems to be meshing together as an offense. We'll see how it goes as we continue to work this week.''
Newton, 28, has been a full participant in practice over the past week as the Panthers prepare for the opener at San Francisco.
"You really won't know until the opener," Rivera said of Newton. "Nobody knew what he was going to be like his rookie year. That's kind of how this is going to be."
Newton's injury occurred in the Panthers' Week 14 game against the Chargers last season. He played in each of the team's remaining three games and underwent offseason MRI exams to monitor his progress before deciding on surgery.
Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, passed for 3,509 yards with 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 15 games last season for the Panthers, who missed the playoffs after finishing last in the NFC South with a 6-10 record.