The Carolina Panthers may have lost much more in Week 1 than their season-opening game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Cornerback Jaycee Horn seems set for an extended spell on the sidelines after he suffered a hamstring injury during the 24-10 defeat at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Head coach Frank Reich told reporters Wednesday that the third-year defensive back could be moved to injured reserve and is “expected” to miss a substantial amount of game time due to the muscular problem.
Another serious injury for Horn
Sadly for Horn and the Panthers, this is not the first time the young cornerback has suffered a significant injury in his short NFL career.
Horn’s career got off to a promising start in 2021, as he recorded five tackles and an interception in his first three NFL games. But those were the only games he played that year. Horn missed the rest of the season with a fracture in his foot.
Horn — the son of longtime NFL receiver Joe Horn — played 13 games during the 2022 season and again showed his potential. The 23-year-old made 53 tackles, defended seven passes, and made three interceptions as part of a solid Panthers defense.
But Horn has again landed on the treatment table after just one game in 2023, and the former eighth overall pick will need extended time to recover from this newest setback.
Carolina’s upcoming slate
The Panthers are hoping to spring a surprise in the NFC South this season. The division might send just one team to the playoffs in 2023, and Carolina — led by rookie quarterback and top overall pick Bryce Young — wants to snap a six-year drought without postseason football.
The Panthers have one of the NFL‘s softer schedules overall, but taking advantage without Horn could prove difficult. Carolina hosts the New Orleans Saints in a “Monday Night Football” game to close Week 2 before traveling to Seattle for a showdown with the Seahawks and hosting the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4.
This trio of upcoming games should give us a better idea as to whether the Carolina rebuild will take a while yet — or whether the Panthers are ready to contend sooner than expected.