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Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has had arthroscopic surgery on his right throwing shoulder.

The team announced Newton’s rehabilitation process will begin immediately and no timetable listed for when he can begin throwing again.

The procedure was successfully performed by Panthers team physician Pat Connor.

Carolina still has not disclosed the exact nature of Newton’s shoulder injury. The quarterback also had surgery in March of 2017 to repair a partially torn rotator cuff.

Newton struggled all season with right shoulder problems that limited his ability to throw downfield.

Several times the Panthers substituted backup Taylor Heinicke to throw Hail Mary passes because of Newton’s lack of arm strength. Panthers coach Ron Rivera decided to hold Newton out of the final two games of the 2018 regular season with “shoulder soreness.”

After Carolina’s 12-9 loss to the Saints on Dec. 17, Newton expressed frustration over not knowing what it would take to fix the shoulder.

“When you talk to different people who can help you with it, there’s not any magical surgery or whatever. It’s just time,” Newton said at the time. “I’ve tried and done everything.”

Newton said he had taken anti-inflammatories, got massages and tried acupuncture.

Concussions reportedly decline

The NFL is encouraged by progress made in reducing concussions while stressing there is much more work to be done.

On Thursday, the league said the number of concussions dropped 29 percent in 2018 from the previous season, according to preliminary data. It added that there were 135 documented concussions, down from 190. By including preseason games and practices, concussions fell from a high of 281 to 214, a 23.8 percent decrease.

That was the lowest total since the 2014 season (206 reported concussions).

Of the 538 evaluations for concussions, the league says, 75 percent ultimately showed no concussions.

“As we like to say,” noted Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president of health and safety, “while we’re pleased with the fact that concussion numbers are down — and down significantly this year — when it comes to the health and safety of our players, there’s no finish line. This is a multi-year process. ”

Extra points

Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein who strained his non-kicking foot at halftime of the NFC championship game, is expected to kick in the Super Bowl next week, coach Sean McVay said.

... Retiring Saints tight end Benjamin Watson strongly criticized NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Twitter for his public silence following a blown call in the NFC championship game.

... The Packers have hired Ravens front office veteran Milt Hendrickson as director of football operations.

... Chuck Pagano is ready to embrace the “opportunity of a lifetime” as the Bears’ defensive coordinator.

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