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Carolina’s Newton injured in accident

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is likely to miss this week’s game against Tampa Bay after sustaining two fractures in his lower back during a two-car accident Tuesday afternoon a block from Bank of America Stadium.

Panthers spokesman Charlie Dayton said tests revealed two transverse process fractures in Newton’s back, but no other internal injuries.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had the same injury this season, and missed one game before returning to action.

The Panthers said their first concern was the health of their franchise quarterback and that of the other driver in the wreck that resulted in Newton’s Dodge Ram pickup overturning several times on Church Street, just about a block from the stadium.

"Right now it’s all about Cam’s well-being," Dayton said. "I understand there was someone else in the other car who was injured. Just hope that they’re all OK."

Newton was transported to Carolinas Medical Center, where he was to be held Tuesday night for observation. The condition of the other driver is unknown.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera will address Newton’s status today. But Newton’s injuries likely will keep him out of Sunday’s home game against the Buccaneers, team sources said.

Newton sat out a Week 1 win at Tampa Bay with fractured ribs, the only game he’s missed during his four-year NFL career.

Backup quarterback Derek Anderson, from Oregon State, started in place of Newton in the Panthers’ 20-14 win in the opener. Anderson, a nine-year veteran, completed 24 of 34 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions.

Anderson has appeared in mop-up duty in four other games this season. He’s completing 70 percent of his passes for 424 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions.

The Panthers trail both New Orleans (5-8) and Atlanta (5-8) by a half-game with three games remaining. The team is hopeful Newton will be available for the stretch run.

At least one teammate is confident Newton will be back.

"He’s going to be fine. I mean, Superman, he’s got to be fine," cornerback Josh Norman, referring to Newton’s signature touchdown celebration. "We’re going to need that guy."

Newton, lying on a sidewalk in black workout clothes, was treated on the bridge for at least 20 minutes before a Medic ambulance took him away. The crash occurred at about 12:30 p.m. The Panthers say Newton was headed on his day off to watch game film.

The other driver was taken by ambulance to a hospital about 10 minutes before Newton.

A witness, Tony Douglas, said he was walking on Church Street when he saw a Buick sedan and Newton’s Dodge truck collide.

Douglas said the truck was heading south on Church and the sedan was crossing Church from Hill Street when they hit.

The truck flipped several times, he said, coming to rest on its passenger side. Douglas said he ran to the truck and saw the quarterback inside.

Afterward, he said, Newton "was alert. He was in pain."

Observer reporter Karen Sullivan said she saw the truck travel over the top of the sedan and become airborne for a short distance, rolling side over side when it landed.

The windows shattered before the truck came to rest sideways on Church, Sullivan said. The driver, later identified as Newton, then lifted himself out of the back window and staggered over to the side of the bridge, where he waited for medical help.