The Carolina Panthers were without Christian McCaffrey this weekend, as the star running backs continues to recover from a hamstring injury. Matt Rhule certainly could've used the dynamic ball-carrier in his team's 36-28 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Thankfully for the second-year head coach, he may not be without his top skill player for much longer.
Matt Rhule says Christian McCaffrey indicated he's going to come out to practice on Wednesday "and see where he is football-wise."
Too early to say whether he'll play this week.
— Joe Person (@josephperson) October 4, 2021
">Joseph Person of TheAthletic.com, Rhule shared an encouraging update on McCaffrey's status on Monday afternoon. He revealed that the 25-year-old running back plans to come to practice on Wednesday “and see where he is football-wise.”
That would be quite the turnaround for McCaffrey, who just went down with his hamstring issue just 11 days ago in the Panthers win over the Houston Texans. He still might not be available to play this upcoming weekend, but at least he's on the right track.
Carolina is a completely different team with McCaffrey on the field and Sunday's rushing performance against the Cowboys proved that. Rookie Chubba Hubbard took 13 carries for 57 yards and quarterback Sam Darnold chipped in two rushing touchdowns, but the Panthers entire offense lacked its usual explosiveness.
McCaffrey has been a centerpiece for Carolina since the organization drafted him eighth overall in 2017. Not only has he proven to be an elite runner, the 25-year-old has shown versatility by being a huge threat as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. In his last full season in 2019, he tallied 2,392 total yards and became just the third player in NFL history to record over 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in a single season.
Injuries sidetracked McCaffrey in 2020, so the Panthers would be wise to be cautious with their All-Pro running back. He may be trying to get ready to play the Philadelphia Eagles in Week Five, but could be better suited to sit another week and rest his hamstring.
Once McCaffrey practices on Wednesday, Rhule should have a much better idea if his star can play this weekend.