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Christian McCaffrey return looking unlikely with latest injury update

Christian McCaffrey, Panthers

The Carolina Panthers will kick off Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night, but they’ll still be without their All-Pro running back. With the Panthers having a short week, Christian McCaffrey is unlikely to return to the offense ahead of the team’s contest versus the Falcons.

Back in Week 2, McCaffrey suffered a high-ankle sprain in Carolina’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. McCaffrey would be placed on the short-term injured reserve and he’s made enough progress to near a return.

In the past two days leading up to Thursday night’s game, McCaffrey has been able to practice for the Panthers. However, Carolina has until 4 p.m. EST to activate the dual-threat running back from injured reserve in time to play against the Falcons.

Before his injury, McCaffrey rushed for 156 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. He also caught six passes for 67 yards as a receiving threat out of the backfield.

But since his absence in the offense, Mike Davis has done a remarkable job replacing him at running back. Davis has recorded 442 scrimmage yards and four total touchdowns in the five games he’s started in amid McCaffrey’s time on injured reserve.

Seeing that Davis has done a fantastic job filling in, the Panthers are likely comfortable with him starting for another week. Plus, Carolina faces a Falcons team that has just one win under their belt this season.

Of course, the Panthers would prefer to have McCaffrey available in the offense. While McCaffrey is unlikely to be activated in time for Week 8, with him being able to practice this week, expect him to be back in Week 9 versus the Kansas City Chiefs.