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Jaycee Horn's wrist surgery successful, status up in the air

Jaycee Horn

CHARLOTTE — The Panthers know they're not going to have cornerback Jaycee Horn this week.

After that? We'll see.

Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks said Wednesday that Horn's wrist surgery went well on Tuesday, and they would re-evaluate his condition in 10 to 12 days.

"And at that point, we'll determine and figure out whether or not there's a possibility that he would have a chance to even continue to finish and play the rest of the year," Wilks said.

That's a remarkable statement on its face since it leaves open the chance of Horn playing in two weeks against the Saints, which would be a remarkable recovery. It brings back memories of Thomas Davis returning two weeks after breaking his arm in the 2015 NFC Championship Game to play in the Super Bowl. Davis was known for his remarkable pain tolerance and ability to heal (as one has to have to come back from three torn ACLs).

Horn wasn't around the practice field Wednesday, but Wilks said that after getting good reports from the medical team, he was encouraged to hear that news from Horn as well.

"It was a success from what the training staff told me, and what he told me this morning as well," Wilks said.

— While there was plenty of focus on new practice squad cornerback Josh Norman, Wilks said they'd have realistic expectations of what a 35-year-old who hasn't been on a roster this year can do.

"I felt like he picked the defense up well, the things that he was doing today, he had good movement," Wilks said. "So I'm excited about him moving forward. So we will see at the end of the week.

"He's definitely not in game shape. I can promise you that. But he's definitely in shape in the way he can move, plant, drive and change direction. So when you start talking about game shape, you got to put a cap on the number of plays that he can possibly play."

Wilks said he had confidence in starting cornerbacks CJ Henderson and Keith Taylor Jr., and that would allow them to spot Norman in if he's activated.

— After watching Tom Brady and the Buccaneers come back for an overtime win against the Cardinals Sunday night, Wilks said they have to be ready to play more than regulation if need be. But he's also tried to keep the attention on his own team this week.

For the Panthers to make the playoffs, a win this week is necessary, so there's every incentive to keep the focus narrow.

"The last part of our DNA is, the last element is finish. We've got to learn how to finish," Wilks said. "We talked about that with the Seattle game. Even last week, with some of the things you saw happening late in the game on the defensive side of the ball, when you have the best to ever do it at that position, they're never out of the game. And he's shown that several times, even against the Saints earlier in the year.

"So we really have to have that finish mentality and understand that this is going to be for 60 minutes, maybe 60-plus, as we saw what they had to do last week. So going against Brady is always going to be a tough task. And again, he's one of the best to do it at that position."

— Return man Andre Roberts wasn't on the field Wednesday, and Wilks said he was indoors with an "illness" and remained a possibility to be activated this week.

The 34-year-old return man is one of the best of his generation on special teams, and they'd love to get him back after he was lost to a knee injury in the opener.

If not, Shi Smith would likely continue to return punts. While Smith was on the injury report, Wilks said he didn't anticipate his status was much of a question.

"Shi is fine," Wilks said. "He looked good in practice. Right now. I don't see any indication that he would not play on Sunday."

View photos from Wednesday's practice as the Panthers get ready to travel to Tampa Bay this weekend.

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