The Carolina Panthers are holding out quarterback Cam Newton from their Sunday game against the Atlanta Falcons due to his ailing right shoulder, coach Ron Rivera told reporters on Wednesday.
Newton will likely miss the regular-season finale against the New Orleans Saints as well, but the team elected not to put him on injured reserve.
Newton has been dealing with soreness for close to two months while Carolina’s season has unraveled with six straight defeats. The Panthers (6-8) aren’t officially eliminated from the playoffs, but their hopes are highly slim.
Taylor Heinicke will be Carolina’s starting quarterback on Sunday against the Falcons.
—Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner missed practice and told reporters he still isn’t feeling like himself as he recovers from a right high-ankle sprain.
“I am trying. It’s day-by-day,” Conner said.
Conner, who was named the AFC’s starting running back for the Pro Bowl on Tuesday, has missed two games with the injury. He praised fill-ins Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley for their performances in his absence.
—Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told reporters he plans to play through his groin injury Sunday against the New York Jets.
Hours earlier, interim coach Joe Philbin declined to say definitively whether or not Rodgers would play.
Rodgers did practice and took all the reps, avoiding the “limited” designation on the team’s injury report.
—The Miami Dolphins placed running back Frank Gore on injured reserve and signed defensive tackle Kendrick Norton.
Gore hurt his left ankle Sunday in Miami’s 41-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings when he was tackled on a run in the first quarter. While he was able to make it to the sidelines, later he was carted to the locker room and missed the rest of the game.
Norton, a seventh-round pick by Carolina in the 2018 NFL draft, spent the past 15 weeks on the Panthers’ practice squad.
—Denver cornerback Chris Harris will not return from a broken leg this season, with the Broncos placing the veteran on injured reserve.
Harris sustained a fractured fibula during a 24-10 victory at Cincinnati on Dec. 2, but two straight losses without his services have knocked the Broncos (6-8) out of playoff contention. Harris, 29, finished his ninth season in Denver three interceptions, one sack and 49 tackles in 12 games.
—Detroit running back Kerryon Johnson’s season is over, as the Lions placed the promising rookie on injured reserve.
Johnson has not played since spraining his left knee in the Lions’ 20-19 victory against Carolina on Nov. 18. The decision to place him on IR comes with the Lions officially out of the playoff race.
A second-round pick in 2018 out of Auburn, Johnson rushed 118 times for 641 yards (5.4 average) and three touchdowns and caught 32 passes for 213 yards and one score in 10 games with seven starts.
—The New York Giants activated wide receiver Cody Latimer from injured reserve and placed cornerback Antonio Hamilton on the list with a quadriceps injury.
Latimer’s return is timely with receivers Odell Beckham Jr. (quad) and Russell Shepard (ankle) both uncertain for Sunday’s road game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Latimer appeared in four games before going on IR with a hamstring injury in mid-October. He caught six passes for 108 yards.
—The Oakland Raiders signed former Buffalo Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman to their practice squad.
The move came as Raiders backup AJ McCarron was at the hospital with his wife, who gave birth to a baby boy on Tuesday night. Peterman will work with Oakland’s scout team, and he’s likely to sign a futures/reserve contract with the team after the regular season, per multiple reports.
The Bills cut Peterman last month. The 2017 fifth-round pick appeared in eight games in two seasons in Buffalo, completing 52.3 percent of his passes for 548 yards, three touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 32.5 passer rating.
—Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back when he was a redshirt freshman at North Dakota State, ESPN reported.
The injury occurred during his childhood and was completely healed before he got to college, a league source told ESPN. The source also said that injury is not related to Wentz’s current malady, a fractured vertebra that could sideline him for the rest of the season.
Wentz has been characterized as “week-to-week” by Eagles coach Doug Pederson after a CT scan last week revealed the current fracture.
—Field Level Media