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Injury bug hits Panthers' 2021 draft pick again
By Eric Smithling,
The Panthers sustained their first setback this offseason when it was reported starting cornerback Jaycee Horn suffered a leg injury that will sideline him until at least the start of training camp.
The team is optimistic he'll be fully healed by the time the regular season begins, which is what's most important. It is concerning, however, that Horn can't seem to shake the injury bug.
He fractured his right foot in Week 3 of his rookie season in 2021, forcing him to miss the rest of the season, then sustained a hip injury in Week 9 last season that forced him to miss two games. He also missed the final two games of the regular season after having surgery on his wrist.
Earlier this month, Horn told The Athletic he was optimistic about his outlook for the 2023 season, saying that he believed his injury woes were behind him.
"This is kind of like my real first full offseason. I'm in a good spot right now," he said .
Instead, Horn will have to wait until his fourth year in the league for his "first full offseason," hardly what a team wants to hear about its eighth overall draft pick.
When available, though, he's been good, which makes his absence even more frustrating. Pro Football Focus credits him with allowing only 29 receptions on 52 targets (55.8 percent) in his first two seasons, for 318 yards, a touchdown and four interceptions.
He's demonstrated that he belongs on the field but he's also shown how difficult it is to count on him being available. It's unfortunate, but until Horn withstands a full NFL season, Carolina has a major concern about the durability of one of the cornerstones of its defense.