CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The NFL and the Players Association announced the Panthers correctly followed concussion protocol guidelines when handling Cam Newton's injury during a first-round playoff loss to the Saints.

The league released a statement Wednesday saying it reviewed game footage and medical reports, as well as statements and interviews with Newton and coach Ron Rivera, before making its determination that "there was no protocol violation."

RELATED: Column: Panthers Failed Cam Newton Amid Strengthened Concussion Protocol

After walking off the field with a second-half eye injury, Newton stumbled to the ground near the sideline when asked to take a knee.

The league said that stumble was caused by a previous knee injury. The NFL said Newton had an MRI on Jan. 8 that "confirmed ligament and cartilage damage and very extensive swelling in the knee."

Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney said Newton will not need surgery.

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