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Panthers won’t place McCaffrey on injured reserve

Panthers coach Matt Rhule said the team has decided not to place star running back Christian McCaffrey on injured reserve while he recovers from a strained hamstring.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) leaves the field during the first half...
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) leaves the field during the first half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)(Justin Rex | AP)
Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 6:04 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP/WBTV) - Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule said the team has decided not to place star running back Christian McCaffrey on injured reserve while he recovers from a strained hamstring. Had McCaffrey been placed on IR he would have missed at least three games.

However, by keeping him on the 53-man roster there is a chance the 2019 All-Pro could return sooner.

“We feel like there is hope that he will be back before then,” Rhule said. “I think it’s all going to depend on how quickly he comes around in terms of recovering from it.”

McCaffrey injured his hamstring in the second quarter of Carolina’s Week 3 game at the Houston Texans.

Rookie running back Chuba Hubbard and veteran Royce Freeman are expected to carry the load while McCaffrey is out. It’s unsure at this point which will get the start but Hubbard got a majority of the carries when McCaffrey went down on Sunday.

Last season, McCaffrey missed 13 games with various injuries and it seems like Carolina might have him back sooner rather than later.

However, while McCaffey won’t land on the IR, rookie cornerback Jaycee Horn did, due to a broken foot he suffered during the same game.

Rhule said Horn is having surgery to repair the multiple broken bones but wouldn’t rule out a return this year.

“With Jaycee we have to be really smart about bringing him back, making sure he’s healthy and his return to play is done the right way,” Rhule said. “I can’t predict that right now.”

That Panthers are 3-0 for the first time since 2015 and visit the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

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