Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton missed practice on Wednesday with sore ribs but his coach remains optimistic he'll be OK to start the season Sunday against Tampa Bay.
"I expect him to be there," Ron Rivera said. "We'll see how it all unfolds, though. We've got to look at this as we go through it day by day."
Rivera said Newton participated in a walkthough at the beginning of practice before going inside to work with trainers.
"A lot of it had to do with the way he felt," said Rivera. "He was just sore. That's the word I got."
Newton assured reporters on Aug. 27 that the fractured rib he suffered in a preseason game against New England wouldn't prevent him from beginning the season on the field.
"It's obvious that my ribs were hurting, but I'm moving forward and trying to stay positive and optimistic about this whole process," he said then.
Newton led all NFL quarterbacks in rushing attempts (111) and yards (585) last season during Carolina's run to the NFC South title. He set career bests with 24 touchdown passes and a 61.7 percent completion rate.
The Panthers will open the season on the road against the Buccaneers at 4:25 ET on Sunday.