FOXBOROUGH — Patriots quarterback Cam Newton was unable to finish Friday’s organized team activity practice after experiencing discomfort in his right hand midway through the session.
It’s unclear exactly when Newton was injured, though he was participating in a throwing period, where assistant coaches toss light blocking pads toward the quarterbacks to sharpen their concentration, when he abruptly stopped. He may have hit the hand on a bag during a follow-through. It’s also possible he whacked it on a teammate’s helmet in the preceding 11-on-11 drill.
According to a league source, postpractice tests revealed that Newton didn’t suffer any breaks in the hand but he will undergo further testing to determine the severity of the injury.
After stopping the drill, Newton went to the sideline and was first looked at by head trainer Jim Whelan, then consulted with head physician Mark Price. It appeared they were working on either Newton’s thumb or the base of his index finger.
Newton grabbed a ball and gripped it before slowly walking back to the drill area while flexing his hand and checking for swelling. He took a knee to watch the other quarterbacks before checking in with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. They both smiled at the end of the conversation, though Newton didn’t throw another pass the rest of the afternoon.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick, and several teammates, including receiver Nelson Agholor, checked in on Newton.
Asked after practice about his chat with Newton, Agholor said, “I’ll let him speak on that.” ‚
Newton, who early in the session appeared to be throwing with a more compact delivery and higher velocity than last week, watched the final team periods from a knee.
Though his energy level was noticeably down after he stopped participating, Newton remained engaged.
“He’s still around,” said Agholor. “He still talks to the wide receivers. Talks to his teammates. You feel him. You still feel him, man. That’s why he’s a great teammate.
“He’s a quarterback but he’s also a great teammate — because he loves football. Even when he’s not physically taking any reps, you still feel his presence. And that’s every week, even when it’s another quarterback in and throwing. He’s there, rooting everybody on, encouraging great throws, great catches, teaching, things like that.
“So, it’s his energy, man. He truly loves the game of football.”
The severity of Newton’s injury should become clearer next week when the Patriots return for four more OTA sessions. Media are scheduled to observe the Thursday practice.
Jarrett Stidham took advantage of the extra reps Friday and unofficially finished the day 13 of 14 during teamwork. His lone incompletion was a drop by fullback Jakob Johnson.
Stidham looked very comfortable and confident during his rotations. He was more animated than in previous years, barking out calls and protections and loudly celebrating his teammates.
Mac Jones was 8 of 11 during the teamwork, with most of his completions coming on checkdowns. Jones’s final pass of the day was nearly picked off by Kyle Van Noy, as Jones and tight end Hunter Henry were not on the same page.
Jones wore a compression sleeve on his right leg and appeared to walk gingerly at times. He’s had ankle woes dating back to the national championship game and he tweaked an ankle during his final Senior Bowl practice, forcing him to miss the game. He sat out the final team reps Friday.
It’s important to note that contact isn’t allowed during these sessions, so the defense is at a severe disadvantage during the 11-on-11 work. Still, the pass rush was pretty furious throughout the day, and at least a handful of sacks would have been registered if this had been a full-speed, full-pads, full-contact session.