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Jaycee Horn looks to be "back up and running soon"

Jaycee Horn

CHARLOTTE – Jaycee Horn characterized his broken wrist from a Week 15 win over the Lions as an "unfortunate injury at the wrong time."

But the cornerback was in good spirits during the Panthers' locker room clean-out day, putting the recent season behind him and focusing on his six-to-eight-week recovery from surgery for a "clean break" to his wrist.

"(It's) not a bad recovery time," Horn said. "It's a wrist injury, so it's not that bad of a rehab process. I should be back up and running soon."

Horn missed Carolina's last two games of the year at Tampa Bay and New Orleans, unable to play a role as the Panthers' playoff hopes went away with a loss to the Buccaneers on New Year's Day.

Horn said a doctor told him that his recovery was going well, and he could have had the opportunity to return to play later if Carolina made the playoffs.

"Probably would have been able to club it up and go if there were postseason opportunities," Horn said. "But unfortunately, there's not. So just got to take this offseason to try to get better and come back next year."

Horn played 13 games in his second year after missing all but three games of his rookie season with a broken foot. He led the team in interceptions this year (three) and was tied for the lead in pass deflections (seven) despite missing four games.

"It's frustrating, as a player, not being able to play, but I'm still in a good headspace," he said. "It's a crazy injury, like the foot injury. … It's out of my control, so I don't really stress too much about it. Just focusing on healing and getting back next year."

Horn said that although he has now had two injury-shortened seasons, he feels confident going into his third year, knowing the Panthers nearly reached the postseason and have an idea of what it takes.

Until then, he'll take the offseason to continue rehab so he can return at full speed for training camp.

"I'm focused on staying healthy," Horn said. "Obviously, not being able to finish my first two seasons – but it was both crazy knick-knack injuries that just happened out of the blue, two things outside of my control. So I'm not really too much worried about it.

"My mindset, really just trying to come back and win. I feel like we tasted what it felt like this year a little bit towards the end of the year, at least by playing meaningful games in December. So now we know what it takes and the focus it takes – execution. So next year, we've just got to come back and do that."

View photos from Monday's clean-out day as Panthers players packed their things and bid farewell to their teammates for the offseason.

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