HOUSTON, Texas — Carolina lost first-round pick Jaycee Horn to a broken right foot after running back Christian McCaffrey departed Thursday night’s game against the Texans with a strained hamstring.
Coach Matt Rhule confirmed the injuries, which spoiled a night in which the Panthers defeated the Texans 24-9 to improve to 3-0 for only the seventh time in franchise history.
The seriousness of McCaffrey’s injury is unknown to the team, according to Rhule. Additional testing will be performed on the star running back.
After the game, quarterback Sam Darnold said he spoke with McCaffrey and described him as “”I’m sad.” Darnold also sent a note to McCaffrey, who he believes will return this season.
“Just wanted to let him know that I’m thinking about him and that he should take his time,” he stated. “Without him, we’ll be fine. We clearly want him back. “However, I want him to take his time and make sure he’ll be ready for the end of the season.”
Cam Erving, the Panthers’ left tackle, admitted that replacing McCaffrey will be difficult, but he believes the team can build on its early success.
“He said, “We’re a football team.” “We’re not the Christian McCaffreys of Carolina.”
In the second quarter, McCaffrey was injured while running to the left on first-and-10 from the Texans’ 14-yard line. After a 2-yard gain, he looked to stutter step to dodge the defender and ran to the sideline.
McCaffrey lingered for 22 minutes in the sideline medical tent before exiting and heading to the locker room. He walked with a slight limp under his own power.
McCaffrey was replaced by Chuba Hubbard, an Oklahoma State fourth-round pick in 2021. Hubbard gained 52 yards on 11 rushes and added 27 yards on three catches.
After not missing a game in his first three seasons, Christian McCaffrey missed 13 games last season due to three injuries.
Horn, the Panthers’ No. 8 overall choice, went down with a non-contact injury to his right foot early in the third quarter. Horn was wheeled to the locker room and later ruled out of the game.
There’s no news yet on how long he’ll be out due to the injury.
“‘Those guys are great,’ Rhule remarked. “We’ll assist them in improving. Jaycee is coming back. Jaycee Horn is a once-in-a-lifetime football athlete.”
Horn, the son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, was thrust into the starting lineup right away and helped the Panthers become the league’s best defense after just two games.
McCaffrey, who entered the game as the league leader in yards from scrimmage with 324 yards, became the third player in NFL history to have 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season.
Last season, he missed 13 games due to a variety of injuries, including a high ankle sprain in Week 2. This season, he came back looking better than ever.
He exited late in the third quarter of last weekend’s triumph over the New Orleans Saints to acquire a couple of IV bags for what he referred to as a “emergency situation.” “”I’m starting to have cramps.” He said he was good to go earlier this week.