CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After six games without their franchise quarterback, the Carolina Panthers have closed Cam Newton’s injury-wracked 2019 season, an announcement that also raises questions about his future with the team.

The team officially placed Newton on injured reserve (IR) Tuesday, effectively leaving only the slimmest chance that the nine-year veteran will return to the field this year. Newton hasn’t played since the Panthers’ Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 12.

Under the NFL’s injured-reserve policy, Newton will miss the rest of the regular season and would only be eligible to return if the Panthers make the playoffs. That the Panthers would play the quarterback after virtually a season-long layoff would seem unlikely at best.

The announcement comes one day after a Panthers’ news conference in which coach Ron Rivera said Newton would continue rehabbing his injured foot, potentially with the hope of returning at some point this season.

The team’s outlook for its best-known player had completely by midday Tuesday. Ultimately, the Lisfranc injury Newton sustained in his left foot proved too much for the quarterback to overcome.