We’re only one week into the regular season and the Carolina Panthers have already taken huge hits on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
Starting cornerback Jaycee Horn was sidelined late in the 1st half of the Panthers’ season-opening loss to the Falcons with a hamstring injury. Wednesday, head Coach Frank Reich described it as “serious” – adding the 2021 first-round draft pick will miss considerable time.
“It is a serious hamstring injury. He’s going to be out for an extended period of time, but I still don’t have enough information to give a definitive statement on exactly what’s going to be the course of action with him. Hopefully we get that answer in the next day or two.”
Reich added that Horn felt a pop when he injured his hamstring and surgery and season-ending injured reserve have not been ruled out.
With Horn sidelined, CJ Henderson’s load will increase. The four-year veteran has had a tumultuous start to his career and admittedly entered this season with a chip on his shoulder after the Panthers declined to pick up his fifth year option. He’ll have an opportunity to improve his stock with the increased playing time – something he says he’s prepared for.
“I definitely feel ready,” Henderson said. I’ve prepared for this throughout the whole offseason, so I’m well prepared. I’m going to take this week like any other week and continue building on this and move forward.”
In addition to Horn going down, left guard Brady Christensen will miss the remainder of the year with a bicep injury. Christensen sustained the injury at Atlanta, but was able to finish the game. It’s a huge blow to a unit that was one of the bright spots in week one.
The line will now be shuffled around with backups Cade Mays, Nash Jensen and Justin McCoy all filling in during practice this week. I wouldn’t be surprised if rookie Chandler Zavala is moved to left guard, a position he played at NC State next to left tackle Ikem Ekwonu, and one of the aforementioned guys slides in at right guard.
It certainly isn’t ideal to have two starters sidelined so early in the season, but injuries are an unfortunate part of the game.