How much time could Panthers CB Donte Jackson miss with torn Achilles?

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson /

How much time could Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson miss after suffering a torn Achilles in Week 10 against the Atlanta Falcons?

Although the Carolina Panthers emerged from their clash against the Atlanta Falcons with a much-needed victory, it came at a price. Donte Jackson went off the field late during the Thursday Night Football clash and it was later revealed that the speedy cornerback suffered a torn Achilles and now faces a long road back to full health.

This is disastrous news for Jackson, who signed a three-year extension last spring and was expected to be a core component to any future success Carolina attains. However, he’ll now miss the remainder of 2022 and perhaps a lot longer than that depending on the severity of yet another setback.

Jackson’s suffered his fair share of health problems throughout his career. This is the worst of the lot by a considerable margin and it would be a major shock if the former LSU standout was ready to start right out of the gate in 2023.

There aren’t many athletes in any sport that come back quickly from a torn Achilles. It’s one of the most challenging complications to overcome and very few get back to the same level of production when they return.

Carolina Panthers face a long wait for Donte Jackson’s return

One could possibly point out basketball star Kevin Durant as the exception to the rule. But he missed around 18 months after suffering a rupture and relies less on explosiveness than someone like Jackson.

It won’t take long to find out when Jackson is cleared to participate. Cornerbacks run the risk of personal exposure on almost every down, so it might take some moderation on the player’s part to avoid further complications.

The Panthers will obviously help the 2018 second-round selection every step of the way. His influence will be felt behind the scenes one suspects, but one cannot rule out the possibility of Jackson missing the entire 2023 season at this juncture.

Not only does this have grave ramifications for Carolina’s secondary, but it might also force those in power into a slight shift in approach next spring. The Panthers have invested heavily in their cornerback room over the last few years, but spending further funds or draft capital on another option is now realistic.

Jackson was reportedly the subject of trade interest before the deadline. Carolina was holding out for a second-round pick that didn’t, so the franchise is on the hook for his $14.28 million salary cap number over the next two seasons.

This was the big worry where Jackson was concerned this spring when the Panthers opted to extend him rather than keep Stephon Gilmore. Injuries have been frequent for the cornerback and even before this latest crushing blow, he was in and out of the lineup with an ankle issue.

What’s important for the Panthers right now is stability. That means Jaycee Horn stepping up and shutting down one side of the field, C.J. Henderson finding the necessary consistency, and Keith Taylor Jr. taking advantage of extended involvement.

As for Jackson, a hard road awaits. All fans can do is wish him well, but it might be a year or more before we see him take the field in a competitive environment again.

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