Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who is coming off ankle surgery, is not expected to play in Friday night's preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.

NFL.com reported through a source that the team does not expect the fourth-year quarterback to suit up, which would not be a surprise.

Coach Ron Rivera said Thursday he wanted to make sure Newton could "protect himself."

Newton, who had surgery in March to tighten loose ligaments in his ankle, said he can tell there's still something there.

"It's like a thump from your mom when you said something that you weren't supposed to, she'll thump you dead in your ear or on your head," Newton said, according to the Charlotte Observer. "It'll hurt for that little second but it'll go away after 2-3 minutes. It's a reminder that, hey, you better check yourself."

The Panthers have not officially stated their plan for the starting quarterback against the Bills.

"I'm going about it as if I am playing," Newton said after practice Thursday. "Do I want to play? I do. I think this is an opportunity for me to play, but at the end of the day I'm sticking to the program."