Cam Newton to have surgery

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will undergo ankle surgery Wednesday to repair an issue that has lingered since the end of the season.

The surgery will be performed by team physician Robert Anderson, and the recovery is expected to take four months, which means Newton will be back in time for training camp in late July.

Team officials said Newton is expected to miss time in minicamps in late May and June.

Assuming Newton's surgery goes as expected and the quarterback's ankle responds as doctors anticipate, the Panthers believe there is a possibility he could be throwing again by the middle of June, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder. The more encouraging time frame would make him available for organized team activities and a minicamp scheduled in June, the last before players reports to training camp.

Having Newton available sooner would be important as he will be confronted with the challenge of developing timing with a new receiver group as Steve Smith ( Baltimore Ravens), Brandon LaFell ( New England Patriots) and Ted Ginn Jr. ( Arizona Cardinals) have all signed elsewhere as free agents. The Panthers have six receivers on their roster who have combined for five career NFL receptions.

Newton nicked his ankle in a Week 16 victory over New Orleans but played in the regular-season finale at Atlanta and in the Panthers' NFC divisional playoff loss to San Francisco without noticeable issue.

"The ankle was sore after the San Francisco game and we wanted to see if rest would calm it down, but it is still bothering him and the decision was made to address it," Panthers head trainer Ryan Vermillion said in a team release.

Carolina recently signed backup quarterback Derek Anderson to a two-year deal.

Newton is heading into his fourth season. The Panthers have expressed a desire to sign the two-time Pro Bowler to a long-term contract. Newton is eligible for an extension of his original four-year deal under the collective bargaining agreement. The Panthers could pick up a fifth-year option on the quarterback's current contract.

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