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Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey to be sidelined multiple weeks with ankle injury
from Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz(USA TODAY)
The Carolina Panthers will be without their star player for at least a few games.
Running back Christian McCaffrey is expected to miss multiple weeks with a high-ankle sprain he sustained Sunday in a 31-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Panthers coach Matt Rhule confirmed on Monday.
McCaffrey said the initial timeline given to him for a return was four to six weeks.
“They say four to six weeks, well, that’s a challenge to me,” McCaffrey said in a news conference Monday. “Hopefully I can get back a lot earlier than that, but I’m gonna attack this.”
Rhule did not say whether the team would put him on injured reserve, which would rule him out for at least three weeks.
McCaffrey left the game after scoring his second touchdown of the day on a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter, but both Rhule and the running back said the injury occurred a few plays earlier. He did not return after exiting, finishing the game with 59 yards on 18 rushing attempts while adding four receptions for 29 yards.
McCaffrey, 24, has not missed a game in the previous three-plus seasons of his career. An All-Pro pick in 2019, he led the NFL in yards from scrimmage last season with 2,392, the third-best total in league history. He also became the third running back ever to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season.
Carolina signed McCaffrey to a four-year, $64 million contract extension this offseason, making him the highest-paid running back in the NFL.
The Panthers face the Los Angeles Chargers on the road in Week 3 before hosting the Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons in the following two weeks.
Also in from CarolinaPanthers.com/www.panthers.com:
CHARLOTTE — Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey will miss multiple weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 31-17 loss to the Buccaneers.
Head coach Matt Rhule announced the news Monday afternoon.
“I hate it for him. No one wants to be out there and play more than Christian does, but everything happens for a reason,” Rhule said. “I’m sure he’ll rehab. I’m sure he’s rehabbing right now. I talked to him earlier today and he’ll get back as soon as he can.”
McCaffrey ran in his second touchdown of the game on fourth-and-2 with 13:25 left but walked off the field gingerly. Athletic trainers then re-wrapped McCaffrey’s right ankle, but he never returned. Rhule said the injury occurred two plays prior to the touchdown when McCaffrey picked up 2 yards on a carry up the middle.
Sunday was the 50th game of McCaffrey’s career. He has not missed a game in his three-plus seasons.
Mike Davis replaced McCaffrey for the remainder of Sunday’s loss, finishing the contest with eight receptions for 74 yards and a 1-yard carry. The six-year veteran is presumably the next-man-up in McCaffrey’s extended absence.
“I’m just here to do my job, go out there and do whatever coach asks me to do,” Davis said Sunday. “I’m not looking to go out there and try to do anything crazy.”
The 27-year-old Davis has 10 career starts, eight of which came with Seattle from 2017-18. He rushed for 514 yards and four touchdowns with the Seahawks in 2018. The South Carolina product has registered 890 yards rushing with five rushing touchdowns plus 74 receptions for 504 yards with one touchdown catch since entering the league as a 49ers’ fourth-round pick in 2015.
With new rules enacted for the 2020 season, the Panthers could potentially place McCaffrey on the reserve/injured list and bring him back after a minimum of three games. That would allow the club to fill his spot on the 53-man roster temporarily.
Trenton Cannon is the only other running back on the Panthers’ active roster, but he fills more of a special teams role. Reggie Bonnafon?, who had 23 touches for 173 yards and a touchdown last season, is currently on the practice squad.
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Christian McCaffrey ready to attack rehab and return ASAP
McCaffrey was upbeat and motivated in his remarks to the media on Monday after news of his ankle injury was released.