Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was listed as limited on the injury report on Thursday, but he’s nevertheless expected to suit up for Sunday’s football game against the Buffalo Bills.

Newton underwent surgery on his throwing shoulder last March, and the Panthers medical staff is doing their best not to put too much pressure on the quarterback’s surgically-repaired arm during practices.

'New normal' for Cam

Carolina head coach Ron Rivera addressed what he called Newton’s "new normal" during his media availability this week, stating the team is just following the protocol set by the doctors and trainers to keep the QB’s arm injury-free.

“All part of the protocol that has been set up by our doctors and trainers,” Rivera told reporters via

“This is going to be part of his maintenance as we go through the season.”

Despite their strict precautions on Newton’s throwing shoulder, Rivera said that the quarterback will still participate in some non-contact drills and other stuff in practice.

“He’s not going to take a true rest day. He just won’t. This is the compromise.”

Newton covered 171 yards on 14-for-25 with two touchdowns and one interception in the Panthers’ 23-3 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on week 1. This weekend’s showdown versus the Bills provides another litmus test for Newton as he progresses from the injury.

Fortunately for him, the Panthers offensive line gets a much-needed boost with the return of center Ryan Kalil and the signing of offensive tackle Jon Theus off-waivers.

Improved O-Line

Newton couldn’t be happier to see Kalil spearheading the offensive line again. The Panthers quarterback considers the veteran center a calming presence on the playing field.

“It’s hard to explain,” Newton said via Charlotte Observer, “But when [Kalil’s] presence isn’t there? It’s a question mark. ... I don’t care if he’s at 80 percent. ... When you’ve got your guys out there, their presence alone gives a calming to you. Kalil is one of those guys to me.”

Kalil, who now shares the duty of protecting Newton with his brother offensive lineman Matt Kalil, is also coming off a shoulder surgery last offseason.

His return is one of the reasons why the Panthers’ offensive line has been ranked in the top-5 by the panel of experts.

Carolina bolstered their O-line even further after claiming Theus, who was released by the 49ers on Wednesday. Theus, a former All-SEC first team out of Georgia and fifth-round selection in 2016, played in the 49ers' last four games last season but was inactive against the Panthers last Sunday.

He will bring more depth to Carolina’s offensive line that is expected to play a big part in the team’s resurgence this season.