The Carolina Panthers haven’t had Christian McCaffrey gracing the offense since Week 9. Unfortunately, the latest injury update for the All-Pro running back isn’t especially promising.
Speaking to the media, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule announced that McCaffrey was limited in practice today. But in addition to the shoulder injury that’s sidelined him since early-November, McCaffrey now has a shoulder injury too.
The Panthers are 4-8 and have lost six of their last seven games. A big culprit for their struggles has been the offense, which has largely been unable to get the running game going. They’ve been held under 100 yards rushing as a team four times this year.
But the Panthers had one of their best offensive outputs of the season in Week 1, when they had a healthy Christian McCaffrey for the majority of the game. The other games where he’s left early due to injuries have quickly gone south for the offense.
Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey was limited with a shoulder injury and a new injury — thigh, which he tweaked last week, according to Matt Rhule.
Matt Rhule said it tightened up today.
— Joe Person (@josephperson) December 9, 2020
Clearly the Panthers need McCaffrey healthy in order to get the kind of offensive production you need to thrive in the NFL. The passing game has been adequate with Teddy Bridgewater under center, but rarely as explosive as it needs to be.
The 2020 season is for all intents and purposes over for Carolina. While not mathematically eliminated, they don’t control their own destiny and seem unlikely to make the playoffs if they win out.
The rest of the season will likely be dedicated to building around McCaffrey and Bridgewater in preparation for next year.
Hopefully McCaffrey and Bridgewater can both stay healthy enough for Rhule to properly adjust in the offseason.