Panthers back Christian McCaffrey left Thursday night’s game against the Texans with a strained hamstring, and Carolina later lost first-round pick Jaycee Horn to a broken right foot. The injuries, confirmed by coach Matt Rhule, soured an evening that saw the Panthers beat the Texans 24-9 to maneuver to 3-0 for just the fifth time in team history. Rhule said the team doesn’t know the severity of McCaffrey’s injury. The star back will undergo additional tests.
Quarterback Sam Darnold said he talked to McCaffrey after the sport and described him as “sad.” Darnold also had a message for McCaffrey, believing he’ll be back this season. “Just that I’m thinking of him and to require his time,” he said. “We’ll be alright without him. Obviously, we would like him back. But i would like him to require his time and confirm he’s good for the top of the season.”
Left tackle Cam Erving said losing McCaffrey will hurt, but he believes the Panthers can sustain their early success. “We’re an eleven,” he said. “We’re not the Carolina Christian McCaffreys.” McCaffrey was hurt making a run to the left on first-and-10 from the Texans’ 14-yard line within the second quarter. He seemed to stutter step to avoid the defender and went immediately to the sideline after a 2-yard gain. McCaffrey stayed within the sideline medical tent for 22 minutes before emerging and heading to the room. He walked under his own power with a small limp.
McCaffrey was replaced by Chuba Hubbard, a 2021 fourth-round detect of Oklahoma State. Hubbard finished with 52 yards on 11 carries while adding three catches for 27 yards. Early within the third quarter, the Panthers also lost Horn, the No. 8 overall pick, after he suffered a non-contact injury to his right foot. Horn was taken to the room on a golf cart and was later ruled out for the sport.
There was no immediate word on how long he’ll be sidelined with the break. “We love those guys,” Rhule said. “We’re getting to help them recover. Jaycee is going to be back. Jaycee Horn may be a special, special, special footballer .” Horn, the son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, was inserted immediately into the starting lineup and played an enormous role in Carolina becoming the league’s top-ranked defense after two games.
McCaffrey, who in 2019 became the third player in NFL history to possess 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving within the same season, entered the sport because of the league leader in yards from scrimmage with 324 yards. He missed 13 games last season thanks to multiple injuries, including a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 2. He returned this season looking stronger than ever. He left late within the third quarter of last weekend’s win against the New Orleans Saints to urge a few of IV bags for what he called “onset cramps.” He said earlier in the week he was good to attend.