Panthers claiming Cam Newton had knee injury, not concussion

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas catches a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Sunday Dec. 31 2017

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The NFL learned about the injury while interviewing Panthers officials over the phone this week.

Newton was also poked in the eye during the fourth quarter of Sunday's 31-26 loss to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC wild-card game. That was a violation of the concussion policy the league had distributed just nine days earlier, which said any player who stumbles on the field had to get a concussion check in the locker room, not on the sideline.

The dance moves inspired local musician Shamarr Allen to make a song to go along with the locker room celebration video.

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The league's new concussion protocol, amended recently, states: "A player who exhibits gross motor instability or significant loss of balance must be taken to the locker room for evaluation if it is not diagnosed as an orthopedic injury".

Newton echoed coach Ron Rivera's assessment that Newton was poked in the eye. "And it was really getting poked in the eye".

Newton offered the same injury diagnosis as his coach at the time.

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"He's one of the biggest, strongest guys and he takes hits other quarterbacks don't", Malzahn said on CBS Radio on Wednesday. My helmet had came down low enough over my eyelid and it got pressed by the player's stomach I believe.

According to Schefter, the quarterback underwent an MRI for the injured knee on Monday, which came back negative.

On the surface, that excuse seems like a hard one to believe, especially in light of how often the NFL's concussion protocol gets ignored for star players.

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