Saturday, January 22

How long will Christian McCaffrey be out? Injury timeline, return date, latest updates on Panthers RB

Christian McCaffrey just can’t stay healthy.

The 25-year-old running back is dealing with another lower-body injury. He suffered the ankle injury in the first half of the Panthers’ 33-10 loss to the Dolphins. He was never called out for the game after spraining his ankle, but he played sparingly in the loss to the Panthers.

It turns out that McCaffrey’s injury is serious. As a result, the Panthers have to put him on IR once again.

McCaffrey’s final IR stint marks the fourth time in the past two seasons that he has landed on that inactive list. He has played in just 10 games since signing a four-year, $ 64 million contract before the 2020 NFL season.

Here’s everything you need to know about McCaffrey’s injury and what it means for the Panthers.


How long will Christian McCaffrey be out?

McCaffrey was seen wearing a walking boot after the Panthers’ loss to the Dolphins. He was never ruled out of the game despite suffering the injury in the first half.

Coach Matt Rhule didn’t get much of an update on McCaffrey’s condition immediately after the game. All that was known was that McCaffrey would have an MRI to verify his injury on Monday.

Already on Monday morning, Rhule indicated that he didn’t think McCaffrey’s injury was serious. However, the injury reportedly “increased significantly overnight” and the MRI revealed enough damage that McCaffrey would have to be placed in IR once more.

McCaffrey already had an IR stint earlier in the season while dealing with a hamstring injury. Once a player is placed in IR a second time, they are automatically discarded for the remainder of the season. So McCaffrey will miss the Panthers’ remaining five regular-season games and any potential postseason action as well.

That means McCaffrey will have missed 23 games in the past two seasons while playing in just 10. His combined yards of hitting in 2020 and 2021 amounted to 1,159 in 10 games. In 2019, he more than doubled (2,392 yards) while playing in all 16 games.

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What is Christian McCaffrey’s injury?

McCaffrey is dealing with an unspecified ankle injury. He reportedly “rolled” or “modified” it against the Dolphins.

McCaffrey has dealt with ankle problems before. He missed six games in 2020 as a result of a sprained ankle. It’s unclear if his current injury is similar to that, but the 4-6 week recovery schedule for high ankle sprains aligns with McCaffrey’s projected absence.

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Timeline of Christian McCaffrey’s injury

– September 23: McCaffrey exits the Panthers “Thursday Night Football” game with a hamstring injury. It is ruled out for the game.

– October 7: After missing the Panthers’ Week 4 loss to the Cowboys, McCaffrey says “definitely” has a chance to play in Week 5 against the Vikings.

– October 8th: McCaffrey is listed as “doubtful” in the injury report before the Panthers-Eagles game.

– October 10th: The Panthers officially list McCaffrey as inactive, marking their second straight lost game.

– October 13: Rhule says McCaffrey is “50-50” to play the Vikings in week 6. He had used the same language when describing McCaffrey’s availability the week before.

– October 16: Panthers put McCaffrey to IR after being ruled out for a third straight game with a hamstring injury.

– November 6th: Carolina activates McCaffrey from IR before Week 9. He is available to play against the Patriots.

– November 7: McCaffrey has 106 yards on 18 touches against the Patriots.

– November 21: McCaffrey avoids being included in the injury report, plays and finishes three consecutive games for the Panthers.

– November 28: During the Panthers-Dolphins game, McCaffrey sprains his ankle. He’s not ruled out, but he plays sparingly in the second half and is seen after the game with a walking boot.

– November 29th: McCaffrey is placed in IR after an MRI to determine the severity of his ankle injury. Their season is over, as players are ruled out for the year once they have a second season on IR.

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