The hits just keep on coming for the Carolina Panthers. Not only does Cam Newton have no receivers to throw the ball to right now, he could not throw it anyway because he is about to undergo ankle surgery.
The Panthers confirmed Tuesday that Newton will have an ankle "procedure," as the Panthers delicately term it, in Charlotte on Wednesday. The recovery will take approximately four months, which would still allow him to be ready for training camp but will force him to miss several months of offseason workouts.
This is bad news. Not "Oh-my-gosh-nooooo!" news, but bad all the same. As we all know, Newton's mobility is one of his primary strengths. He's got to be able to run to do what he does at the highest level.
But it is hardly unusual news. Quarterbacks have offseason surgeries all the time. While he was Carolina's quarterback, Steve Beuerlein once had five offseason surgeries in a single year. When I used to cover the Miami Dolphins, quarterback Dan Marino had surgery almost annually on a troublesome knee -- he likened them to "oil changes."
Of course, Beuerlein and Marino were statues in the pocket. Newton is a running warrior. He needs two healthy ankles. He has been extremely durable -- Newton has not missed a single start in three years, and really only a few plays. But with that said, this is all a little worrisome.
The timing is also not ideal. It would obviously have made more sense to have surgery -- if you were going to have surgery at all -- a few days after the San Francisco game. But the Panthers were hoping to avoid surgery entirely and let time and rest heal the ankle. That didn't work, so here we are.
The Panthers made a major mistake by releasing their top receiver from last year in Steve Smith. I have written on that extensively and won't go back into it here. They allowed receivers No.2-4 all sign with other teams (not nearly as bad of a mistake, but you'd still like to have kept at least one of them -- preferably Ted Ginn Jr. -- for continuity's sake).
And now Newton is having ankle surgery.
So is the sky falling in Pantherland? Well, no. Actually, it isn't. They kept defensive end Greg Hardy -- who is better than any of the players they have lost. Newton will be healthy for training camp (we assume). Luke Kuechly is still Luke Kuechly.
A well-known sports oddsmaker, Bovada.lv, had the Panthers at 25-1 to win the 2015 Super Bowl on Feb.3rd, the day after the most recent season ended.
A lot of teams' odds have jumped up or down in the past six weeks as free agency has begun and player movement has increased. New England, for instance, was listed at 14-1 six weeks ago and now is 9-1.
And what does that sports book now have the Panthers listed at to win the 2015 Super Bowl now?