Panthers star Newton undergoes shoulder surgery

Quarterback Cam Newton, pictured in 2016, injured his shoulder towards the end of last season

Carolina Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton, who led the NFL team into last year's Super Bowl, underwent surgery Thursday to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

The Panthers announced following the operation by surgeon Pat Connor that a rehabilitation plan under which Newton will not be cleared to throw a football for at least 12 weeks and will be unable to throw during team drills for at least 16 weeks.

"Dr Connor was pleased with the results of the surgery and Cam is at home resting," Panthers trainer Ryan Vermillion said. "He will begin his rehab program Monday."

Newton, whose Panthers lost to Denver in Super Bowl 50 last year, injured his shoulder against San Diego last December. First tests did not reveal the injury but as issues continued, an MRI showed the torn rotator cuff.

The Panthers are hoping the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player will be ready for training camp in late July and Panthers coach Ron Rivera hopes Newton returns to top form.

Newton threw for 3,509 yards and 19 touchdowns with 14 interceptions last season as the Panthers went 6-10, their worst record since 2011. In his Super Bowl campaign, Newton threw for 3,837 yards and 35 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.

"He's going to have to rebuild his confidence. I mean, he was shook. Let's be honest. I'm not going to lie about that," Rivera said.

"The young man went through a tough time, and we went through a tough time."