Running back Christian McCaffrey made his triumphant return for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday after missing a month with a high ankle sprain. Unfortunately, it resulted in another injury that has his status for Week 10 (and beyond) in question.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, McCaffrey injured his shoulder while facing the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
#Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey, who returned after missing more than a month with an ankle injury, could miss more time with a shoulder injury suffered yesterday, source said. He’s having tests today, but his status this week is very much in doubt.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 9, 2020
McCaffrey is having tests Monday to evaluate his shoulder, but the injury is reportedly serious enough that it’s already casting doubt on his availability for Week 10 against Tampa Bay.
Head coach Matt Rhule gave an update on McCaffrey on Monday afternoon, and it wasn’t as dire as the previous report.
Matt Rhule: Christian McCaffrey hurt his shoulder yesterday. “As of right now, I’d list him day-to-day.”
— Bill Voth (@PanthersBill) November 9, 2020
Rhule didn’t give an update on the injury itself or any test results, so while “day-to-day” is certainly better than expected, the “as of right now” part of that quote is less than great.
Sunday’s last-second loss to the Chiefs was just McCaffrey’s third game of the season. He injured his ankle rushing for a touchdown late in Week 2 and was placed on injured reserve a few days later. He returned Sunday after missing six straight games and picked up right where he left off. He had 18 carries for 69 yards and one touchdown, and 10 catches for 82 yards and another touchdown.
The Panthers have been missing McCaffrey on the field, and it would be bad luck for everyone if he’s forced to miss more time. This isn’t the season anyone envisioned when the 24-year-old signed a record-breaking contract extension in the offseason, a four-year, $64 million deal that made him the highest-paid running back in NFL history.
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