Rivera: Panthers QB Newton fine after MRI on right shoulder

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers coach Ron Rivera said an MRI on quarterback Cam Newton's right shoulder revealed no serious damage and he anticipates the 2015 NFL MVP will play Monday night against the Washington Redskins.

Newton was listed as limited Thursday.

Rivera said Thursday that Newton's shoulder is sore and the Panthers ''don't want to aggravate it, so we're bringing him along slowly.''

Newton sustained the injury in Carolina's 28-16 win over San Diego on Sunday, but Rivera wasn't specific on which play.

The quarterback has struggled of late, completing just 43 percent of passes his last four games. He hasn't completed more than 14 passes in any of those games.

Newton's QB rating is among the worst in the league after ca year in which he combined for 45 touchdowns and led the Panthers to the NFC championship and a 17-2 season.

He rarely sits out practice, always preferring to practice over taking a day of rest. But teammates know it's not unusual for a player to rest up this time of the year.

''What is this Week 15 now?'' tight end Greg Olsen said. ''It's getting toward the end of the season and it is happening with guys across the league. I've seen a lot of other quarterbacks miss time on other teams, a lot more than our guys has. It's just the reality of the game that we play and the nature of the beast sometimes.''

Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was also limited after hurting his back when he landed hard on the ground in practice Wednesday after making a catch. Benjamin, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, has been battling through a number of injuries, including his left shoulder.

Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly was a full participant in practice on Thursday, although coach Ron Rivera said he remains in the concussion protocol.

Kuechly has missed the last three games - as well as six in the past two seasons - with concussions.

Running back Jonathan Stewart (rest), defensive end Charles Johnson (hamstring) and offensive tackle Daryl Williams did not practice.

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