The Carolina Panthers are reportedly optimistic running back Christian McCaffrey will play Sunday despite missing back-to-back practices the last two days with a thigh injury, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
"He's kept it close to the vest, but barring a setback, he should be OK," Rapoport said about the Week 4 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.
The 26-year-old has had trouble staying on the field over the last few years. After appearing in all 48 games over the first three seasons of his career, he played in a combined 10 games in 2020 and 2021. His 2021 season came to an end after seven games because of an ankle injury after a shoulder problem limited him to three games the previous year.
After entering the league as the eighth overall pick in the 2017 draft, the Stanford product quickly established himself as one of the most dynamic offensive players in the NFL.
His best season came in 2019 when he recorded 287 carries for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns while adding 116 receptions for 1,005 yards and four more scores. Unfortunately, it hasn't been easy for him to reclaim that form.
The Panthers offense has struggled mightily even when McCaffrey was healthy. The team ranks 30th in the NFL in total yards from scrimmage.
If he is unable to play, second-year speedster Chuba Hubbard is likely to assume the lead back duties for Carolina. Five-year veteran D'Onta Foreman is also set to see more action in the Panthers backfield.