Panthers' Christian McCaffrey Activated off IR After Recovering from Hamstring Injury

Erin WalshNovember 6, 2021

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

Fantasy managers who have Christian McCaffrey rostered can rejoice. 

The Carolina Panthers running back has been activated off injured reserve and is eligible to play Sunday's game against the New England Patriots, the team announced Saturday. 

McCaffrey has not played since a Week 3 win over the Houston Texans because of a hamstring injury. The Panthers hope the former Pro Bowler will play against New England, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and he'll likely be a game-time decision. 

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule also appeared optimistic when speaking about McCaffrey's status earlier this week, indicating that if he doesn't return against the Patriots, he could play in Week 10. 

“Hopefully we get Christian back soon. Hopefully, it’s this week," Rhule said Monday. "If not this week, then next week. Obviously, he’s one of the best players in football. He brings something.”

Before being ruled out, McCaffrey had 52 carries for 201 yards and one touchdown in three games. He also had 16 catches for 163 yards on 17 targets. 

The Panthers have struggled in McCaffrey's absence, going 1-4 with Chuba Hubbard filling in as the team's top running back. The rookie has rushed for 329 yards and two touchdowns with McCaffrey sidelined. He also has 13 catches for 88 yards on 18 targets in that span. 

McCaffrey has not played a full season since 2019. However, he was electric that year, becoming just the third player in NFL history to record more than 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season.

The Panthers also announced that quarterback Christian McCaffrey has cleared concussion protocol and will be available for Sunday's Week 9 matchup against the Patriots. 

Carolina is 4-4 this season, third in the NFC South behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints.