According to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter, however, the reason Newton stumbled may have been due to a knee injury and not necessarily a head injury. Peat suffered a broken left fibula and a high-ankle sprain in the Saints' win over the Carolina Panthers during the wild-card round and has been placed on injured reserve. Newton made his way toward the sideline but then dropped to a knee before getting off the field.
The big issue there is that, under the NFL's updated concussion protocol, Newton falling to the ground on the field of play triggered an automatic trip to the locker room for a more thorough examination. They didn't want to have him heading into the locker room during the final minutes of the fourth quarter, choosing instead to eschew league policy while simultaneously failing to value the long-term health of their franchise quarterback.
Newton echoed coach Ron Rivera's assessment that Newton was poked in the eye.
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Regardless, the league is continuing to investigate the situation to see if Newton was indeed concussed and what, if any, steps the Panthers took to address that concussion. My helmet had came down low enough over my eyelid and it got pressed by the player's stomach I believe.
Newton returned for the next offensive series after missing just one play and threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to rookie Christian McCaffery. "I thought somebody stuck their finger in my eye, but I've got my visor, so that couldn't happen".
Trainers checked out Newton's knee a couple times during the game, although the injury will not require surgery, the source said.