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Report: Here’s The Carolina Panthers’ Plan For Christian McCaffrey Tomorrow

Christian McCaffrey warming up for the Panthers.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 23: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers warms up prior to playing the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on September 23, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Christian McCaffrey will most likely make his long-awaited return to the gridiron on Sunday. In such a scenario, the Panthers still plan to keep him on a limited rep count, according to a report.

McCaffrey has been out of the lineup since Week 3 because of a hamstring injury. The Panthers have played it safe throughout his recovery. They won't change course now.

Carolina removed McCaffrey from the injured reserve on Saturday, indicating he could be available to play against the New England Patriots on Sunday. If he does suit up, Matt Rhule and the Panthers will continue to play it safe.

According to ESPN's David Newton, Rhule plans to keep McCaffrey on a "pitch count" if he ends up playing.

"Being activated doesn't mean McCaffrey, who has missed five games with a hamstring injury, will play," Newton wrote via ESPN.com. "The staff will evaluate him again on Sunday morning to make sure there have been no setbacks.

"If McCaffrey plays, he is expected to be on a pitch count that likely would limit him to fewer than 30 to 40 snaps."

The Panthers like the other running backs they have behind Christian McCaffrey, including Chuba Hubbard, Royce Freeman and Ameer Abdullah. They're confident in all three in the case McCaffrey can't give it a go against the Patriots.

The Carolina offense has really struggled without McCaffrey in the lineup, though. The Panthers are 1-4 in games without McCaffrey. It's no secret McCaffrey adds another layer to the Carolina offense.

The 4-4 Panthers clash with the 4-4 New England Patriots at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon.

[ESPN]