TAMPA, Fla. — The Panthers knew they were going into today's game with the Buccaneers short a key player, but they're largely healthy heading into this one.
As expected, cornerback Jaycee Horn is inactive for today's pivotal game, leaving them without their best cover player against Tom Brady with the playoffs on the line.
Horn had wrist surgery Tuesday, and interim coach Steve Wilks said on Wednesday they'd re-evaluate in 10-12 days. That leaves the window open for him to have a chance to return as soon as next week (if medically cleared and sufficiently protected), but it needs to matter first.
The Panthers need to win today to have a shot at the postseason. They have a 25-19 record all-time against the Buccaneers and won in Week 7 in Bank of America Stadium.
The brought in veteran Josh Norman this week to the practice squad, and elevated him for today's game. It's his first game action since last season with the 49ers. He did have seven forced fumbles a year ago for San Francisco, and has spent extra time meeting with his young teammates to get them ready. Keith Taylor Jr. will start in Horn's spot.
They also activated veteran return man Andre Roberts for today, giving them an option on punt returns.
The rest of the inactives for the Panthers are more typical, as wide receiver Rashard Higgins, safety Juston Burris, offensive linemen Sam Tecklenburg and Larnel Coleman, and defensive end Amaré Barno are inactive.
Tecklenburg was elevated from the practice squad as a bit of cover after Cade Mays popped up on the injury report Friday and was listed as questionable with a knee issue. But he's apparently OK since they activated him.
CB Jaycee Horn
WR Rashard Higgins
S Juston Burris
C Sam Tecklenburg
T Larnel Coleman
DE Amare Barno
CB Carlton Davis
OLB Carl Nassib
TE Cam Brate
WR Breshad Perriman
QB Kyle Trask