Panthers' Christian McCaffrey Put on IR; Out at Least 3 Games with Ankle Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2020

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) rushes for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

Christian McCaffrey was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a high-ankle sprain. As a result, he'll be out for a minimum of three games.

Carolina's statement indicated his absence could extend to four-to-six weeks.  

It's a blow for the team, which relies heavily on the production McCaffrey offers. 

The 24-year-old had a season for the ages in 2019, rushing for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns while adding 116 catches (on 142 targets) for 1,003 yards and another four scores. He wasn't just arguably the best running back in football last year; he was also one of the best receivers. 

Few players have a bigger offensive role than him, and it wasn't a surprise when the Panthers locked him up with a four-year, $64 million extension in April. 

McCaffrey is a nightmare matchup for opposing defenses and one of the most talented, exciting skill-position players in the league. The danger of relying on one player for so much of your offensive output, however, is what happens when he's injured. 

The Panthers will turn to Mike Davis while McCaffrey sits, though his IR designation will allow them to potentially look to an outside replacement. Carolina's offense will undoubtedly be less explosive in his absence.