- David Newton, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who fractured his ribs two weeks ago in an exhibition game at New England, still is expected to start Sunday's opener at Tampa Bay despite being held out of Wednesday's practice.
Coach Ron Rivera said Newton was sore, and because the practice was a mirror of what the team did on Monday, he was held out to work with trainer Ron Vermillion.
Rivera said Newton did throw some on Tuesday, an off day for players, and got in some work with the team during Wednesday morning installations.
Newton didn't appear overly sore during team warmups, swinging his arms and dancing to music being played over a loudspeaker. He was in full pads and wearing the flak jacket that he is expected to use on Sunday.
Asked if there were any concerns for Newton starting on Sunday, Rivera said, "No. I'm optimistic and I expect him to be out there.''
Newton also did not talk to the media during his normal Wednesday time slot. According to the Carolina public relations department, he was undergoing treatment.
"When DA was taking his reps, he did good,'' Rivera said. "Like what I saw. Joe looked good, too. This gave us an opportunity to have the other guys get some work, because the last two days, Cam has gotten a lot of it.''
Defensive ends Charles Johnson (hamstring) and Greg Hardy (shoulder), as well as right guard Trai Turner (groin), participated in the full practice and are expected to start on Sunday. Newton was the only player listed on the injury report.