Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was listed on the injury report Thursday ahead of Week 1, but now is not the time to panic, as he should be fine for Sunday’s opener.
Fantasy football managers everywhere collectively freaked out when they saw Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey listed on the injury report Thursday afternoon.
While the former Stanford superstar was arguably the best running back in the league in 2019, he has played in a combined 10 games the last two seasons. Carolina has been largely awful when McCaffrey has been unable to give it a go in Charlotte the last two years. It has presumably forced head coach Matt Rhule on the hot seat heading into his third season leading this NFC South team.
Although he was listed with a shin injury on Thursday, McCaffrey was full participant in practice.
Rhule would later clarify that McCaffrey’s injured leg had only been cut by a cleat during practice.
He expects his star running back to be a full-go heading into Week 1 vs. the Cleveland Browns.
Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey’s shin injury will not derail him in Week 1
While these sort of injuries happen all the time, McCaffrey has earned his reputation as being an injury-prone player for a reason. Though he was as good as advertised coming out of his Stanford during his first three years in the league, McCaffrey has simply not been a reliable player the last two seasons. Because the Panthers are so C-Mac-centric offensively, no wonder they’ve suffered.
The good news for the Panthers is they play in arguably the worst division in football. The Atlanta Falcons are rebuilding, the New Orleans Saints no longer have Sean Payton in the building and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had an incredibly chaotic offseason. Not to say the Panthers will win the NFC South this season, but they can be a playoff team in a weak NFC if all goes right for them.
Ultimately, the Panthers will always be a better team when McCaffrey is on the field. They have a new starting quarterback in Baker Mayfield and an underrated receiving corps headlined by D.J. Moore. If the defense improves, there is a real possibility Carolina can win 10 games. Should that happen, Rhule will keep his job and the Panthers will have to really consider investing in Mayfield.
For now, let’s hope this is the only minor injury McCaffrey sustains all season long in Charlotte.