Things have not gone well for the Carolina Panthers' passing offense this offseason. The team lost its three most prolific receivers in free agency -- Steve Smith to the Ravens, Ted Ginn Jr. to the Cardinals and Brandon LaFell to the Patriots -- and now quarterback Cam Newton will undergo ankle surgery that will force him to miss minicamps and OTAs, but not training camp.
The news was first reported by Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer, with Bill Voth of the Sports Xchange reporting that the injury was suffered in Carolina's 17-13 win over the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 22. The object of the surgery will be to "tighten up" the ligaments in his ankle, according to Voth.
"How it feels right now, it won’t even make for enough ink for a story,” Newton said of the injury on Dec. 26. “Whether it’s feeling great right now, feeling bad right now, come Sunday it will be at high-octane performance.”
The surgery will be performed at Carolina's Medical Center on Wednesday by team physician Dr. Robert Anderson. Newton will have a recovery time of approximately four months.
"The ankle was sore after the San Francisco game," head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion said in a statement. "We wanted to see if rest would calm it down, but it is still bothering him, and the decision was made to address it."
The San Francisco game Vermillion refers to is the Panthers' 23-10 divisional-round loss to the 49ers on Jan. 12. In that game, Newton completed 16 passes in 25 attempts for 267 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
"Terrible ending to a great season," Newton said of his first postseason start.
Newton set several rookie passing records in 2011, but struggled at times throughout the 2012 campaign. He bounced back strongly in 2013, throwing 24 touchdown passes to 13 interceptions, leading the Panthers to their first winning season since 2008. The delay in surgery, however, could affect the Panthers offense in 2014. With so many of his former targets gone, Newton will need as much time as possible to get on the same page with whomever will catch his passes in the future.