Cam Newton injured his knee in playoff loss to Saints

Cam Newton injured his knee in playoff loss to Saints

Cam Newton injured his knee in playoff loss to Saints

In December, the National Football League announced changes to its concussion protocol, including forcing players who stumble or fall to get evaluated in the locker room rather than the medical tent, except in cases of orthopedic injuries.

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. Newton made his way toward the sideline but then dropped to a knee before getting off the field.

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".

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Carolina interim general manager Marty Hurney said this week Newton was told to take a knee before reaching the sideline so backup quarterback Derek Anderson could get warmed up without the Panthers using a timeout. Even worse, after the game head coach Ron Rivera gave us a song and dance about how Newton was actually following instructions.

Newton originally claimed he was poked in the eye on the play. My helmet had come down low enough over my eyelid and it got pressed by the player's stomach, I believe.

"I know it was a precautionary concussion protocol thing that happened, but it wasn't my head, it was my eye", he said, per NFL Network's Tiffany Blackmon.

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So, Newton apparently fell to the ground because he was told to, and because he was struggling to stay balanced due to a knee injury.

Newton returned on the next series and threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to rookie running back Christian McCaffrey on the third play of the possession.

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