He did not return to the field, and the Panthers ruled him out for the rest of the game with a hamstring injury.
McCaffrey appeared to suffer the injury on a two-yard run early in the second quarter. He pulled up and hopped on his right leg during the run before running out of bounds. A timetable for his recovery was not immediately clear.
The loss is a tough blow for McCaffrey and a Panthers team riding a hot start. McCaffrey missed all but three games last season with multiple injuries including a high ankle sprain and a separated shoulder. The former All-Pro who tallied 2,392 yards from scrimmage during his last healthy season in 2019 looked very much like his former self during the season's first two weeks.
McCaffrey tallied 170 yards on the ground and 154 receiving yards in two games for a league-best 324 yards from scrimmage. He had 31 rushing yards and nine receiving yards against the Texans before leaving Thursday's game.
The Panthers, meanwhile, are one of the league's early surprises with a 2-0 record entering Thursday thanks to the emergence of quarterback Sam Darnold alongside McCaffrey and defense that allowed a league-low 380 yards during the first two weeks of the season.
First-round pick Jaycee Horn reportedly breaks foot
The Panthers also lost rookie starting cornerback Jaycee Horn to injury. Horn left the game in the third quarter after falling to the turf without contact. He fell after planting on his right leg and needed help off the field, unable to put weight on his right foot.
— SportsGrid (@SportsGrid) September 24, 2021
He left the field on a cart before the Panthers ruled him out with a foot injury. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports that he suffered a broken foot. An initial recovery timetable wasn't immediately clear.
Panthers corner Jaycee Horn suffered a broken foot Thursday against Houston, per source. No firm timetable on return for Panthers’ top pick.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 24, 2021
Carolina selected Horn with the No. 8 pick in April's NFL draft.
The Panthers went on to a 24-9 victory to improve to 3-0.