-- CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton suffered no setbacks Saturday and is set to start against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, 12 days after suffering two small fractures in his lower back during an automobile accident.
Coach Ron Rivera said Friday he was "confident" Newton would start, and that he was awaiting final word from the medical staff Saturday before making a definitive statement on the two-time Pro Bowler. A team official said the medical staff gave no reason Saturday that Newton couldn't start.
Newton missed last Sunday's 19-17 victory over Tampa Bay as he recovered from the crash that occurred on his way to Bank of America Stadium on Dec. 9. He has shown no sign of pain or restrictions in his movement since taking the practice field Wednesday.
The Panthers (5-8-1) remain in the hunt for the NFC South title and a playoff spot with New Orleans (6-8) and Atlanta (5-9). They need to win their final two games, along with a Saints loss, to win the division for the second straight year.