Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton left Thursday's preseason game against the New England Patriots with a foot injury and was spotted departing the stadium in a walking boot, according to the Charlotte Observer's Scott Fowler.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the injury "doesn't appear to be serious" and that the walking boot could be "used as a precaution." The MMQB's Albert Breer added Newton has been diagnosed with a sprained foot and the "team will know more tomorrow."
The Athletic's Joe Person noted the injury appeared to occur when Danny Shelton wrapped up Newton's left ankle on a sack.
Newton's track record is one of the best among current NFL quarterbacks with a resume that includes the 2015 Most Valuable Player Award, three Pro Bowl selections and a first-team All-Pro nod. He also led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 at the end of the 2015 season.
Although the 30-year-old Atlanta native appeared in 123 of a possible 128 regular-season games over his first eight seasons, his no-holds-barred style of play often leaves him banged up. After suffering an eye injury during the 2018 preseason, he said, "I only know how to play this game one way."
If the latest ailment forces him to miss time when the regular season begins, Taylor Heinicke will probably get another opportunity to fill the massive void. The Panthers may cycle through a few other QBs, including Will Grier and Kyle Allen, if it's an extended absence, though.
Ultimately, the Carolina offense will see a significant drop off without Newton if he is out for an extended period. He's always been a bit streaky, especially in terms of operating as a pure passer, but he's by far the team's best option available at the sport's most crucial position.