Samuel only did individual work during the first round of OTAs but has now progressed to limited team drills. He seems to be a bit ahead of schedule in his rehab from a November ankle injury that involved ligament damage and required surgery. The 2017 second-round pick will have to fight for his snaps during the upcoming season after the Panthers traded for Torrey Smith, signed Jarius Wright and drafted D.J. Moore in the first round. With Devin Funchess and Damiere Byrd also returning, Samuel could find himself limited to a gadget role on offense along with return duties on special teams.
Samuel (ankle) is running routes and catching passes at OTAs on Tuesday, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer reports.
While he hasn't necessarily been cleared for all activities, Samuel does appear to have regained most of his quickness, six months after having surgery to repair ligament damage in his left ankle. He was largely limited to straight-line running as of late March, but it isn't shocking to see that he's made considerable progress since the last update two months ago. Samuel seems to be on track for full participation at the start of training camp, where he'll compete for snaps with Devin Funchess, D.J. Moore, Torrey Smith, Jarius Wright and Damiere Byrd. Following an unimpressive rookie season, the 2017 second-round pick may end up settling for a role as a gadget player and kick returner.
Samuel's (ankle) projected return date remains cloudy, the Charlotte Observer reports.
The 2017 second-rounder is bouncing back from an ankle injury he suffered last November that involved ligament damage and required season-ending surgery. At this stage, Samuel is able to do some straight-ahead running, but is limited in his cutting and breaking. With Samuel still on the mend, the Panthers added wideouts Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright in free agency to add depth behind top returning wideout Devin Funchess. Once fully recovered from his ankle injury, Samuel profiles as a versatile playmaker who is dangerous with the ball in his hands.
Samuel, who was placed on injured reserve Nov. 24 with ligament damage and a broken bone in his left ankle, underwent surgery shortly after being shut down for the season, Max Henson of the Panthers' official site reports.
The Panthers have issued no timetable for Samuel's return to full activity but it appears the 2017 second-round pick is at least making progress in his recovery from surgery, as he has since had his cast removed and is now sporting a protective boot on the ankle while using crutches to get around. Per Henson, the 21-year-old has been going through at least three hours of rehab for the ankle five times a week at the Panthers' facility while varying his workouts. It sounds unlikely that Samuel will take part in all drills when the Panthers reconvene in the spring for Organized Team Activities but the expectation is that the wideout will be fully recovered by the time training camp opens in the summer. If he's able to steer clear of the injury bug that plagued him as a rookie, Samuel could have an elevated role in the Panthers' passing attack in 2018 with few established targets populating the roster beyond lead receiver Devin Funchess, tight end Greg Olsen and running back Christian McCaffrey.
Samuel's season came to a close in the Panthers' last game Week 10, when he tore ligaments in his left ankle. That said, he wasn't immediately placed on IR because the obvious corresponding move, activating Greg Olsen (foot) from the list, couldn't be confirmed until he completed this week of practice. With Olsen's health approved, the team swapped the skill-position players Friday. Consequently, Samuel ends his rookie campaign with 15 receptions (on 26 targets) for 115 yards, four rushes for 64 yards and 22.1 yards per on his 10 kickoff returns.