After Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhulee called the chances of star running back Christian McCaffrey being available this weekend “50-50”, fans began to wonder if those odds have changed with Thursday’s disappointing news.
According to Panthers team reporter Darin Gantt, there was “no sign” of McCaffery during the part of Carolina’s practice open to the media on Thursday. That’s stirred up even more doubt that he’ll be available for this weekend’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
McCaffery has worked out with the team in a limited capacity for the last four practices, so Thursday’s news implies somewhat of a regression to his recovery. The 25-year-old running back has missed the last two Panthers games with a hamstring injury.
Optimism within the organization that McCaffery would play this weekend seemed to be on the rise, but will surely plummet this afternoon with just two days to go before Carolina’s game against Minnesota.
No sign of RB Christian McCaffrey at the open portion of practice.
He’s been doing limited work for the last four practices as he recovers from hamstring strain.
— Darin Gantt (@daringantt) October 14, 2021
The Panthers have felt McCaffery’s absence the last two weeks as they’ve dropped each of their last two games. Although rookie running back Chuba Hubbard has filled in admirably, he hasn’t given Carolina’s offense the same dynamism that the two-time All-Pro has over the years.
In just a little over two games this season, McCaffery racked up 364 total yards and a touchdown. The Panthers got off to a 3-0 start behind a stout defense and their star running back.
Since McCaffery went down in Week 3 against the Houston Texans, Carolina’s offensive production has plummeted. After falling to the high-powered Dallas Cowboys in Week 4, the Panthers stumbled in the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles on their way to back-to-back losses.
Thursday’s report on McCaffrey’s availability doesn’t bode well for him being ready to suit up this weekend. Whether he can give it a go or not, the Panthers will try to stop their two game slide against the Vikings on Sunday at 1 p.m ET.
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