Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has no doubt that he'll play in the season opener Sept. 7 at Tampa Bay.
Newton, who cracked his ribs last week against New England, left little question about his Week 1 status while talking with reporters Wednesday for the first time since he was injured.
"There's no doubt in my mind," Newton said. "I'm just going to worry about things that I can control. I'm going to continue to come in and get as much treatment as possible so my body will be 100 percent."
The Panthers play their final exhibition Thursday night at Pittsburgh. Newton will make the trip with the team so he can continue working with head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion.
Newton indicated he sustained hairline fractures in multiple ribs when he was kneed in the lower back by Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins at the end of a 7-yard scramble during the second quarter. After leaving for one play, Newton returned to the game and played into the third quarter.
But an MRI on Sunday morning revealed the fracture.
Newton did not slide on the scramble, but rolled into Collins, whose knee struck Newton in a crease in his flak jacket.
Newton, who underwent offseason surgery on his left ankle, was noncommittal when asked whether he planned to slide more often when he takes off running from the pocket.
"I guess we will all just have to stay tuned and see," Newton said.
Newton put on his shoulder pads for the first time during Wednesday's practice -- "a superstitious thing more than anything."
Panthers coach Ron Rivera did not say when he thought Newton would return to practice, but shared Newton's confidence that he will be ready to play against Tampa Bay on Sept. 7.
"Nothing's different than the obvious that I hurt the rib section of my body. The pads (flak jacket) that I've had have been nicked to a degree," Newton said. "But nothing to the extent that will change my playing style or make me uncomfortable."
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