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Report: Panthers ‘sensing’ Christian McCaffrey will be available next week vs. Chiefs

Christian McCaffrey, Panthers, Chiefs

Carolina Panthers running back was not activated from the injured list Thursday, making him inactive for the team’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

However, the Panthers are confident the All-Pro will be able to return in Week 9 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Adam Schefter reports the “sense” is McCaffrey will be fully ready to go when Carolina takes on the defending champions:

McCaffrey has been throwing the media for a loop all week.

The former Stanford star initially showed up to Wednesday’s practice with a red jersey on, indicating he would be limited. However, McCaffrey soon swapped that jersey for a regular jersey, suggesting he might indeed be available on Thursday.

But it appears as though the Panthers are attempting to be cautious with their franchise centerpiece as he continues to mend from a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 2.

Carolina should be able to navigate McCaffrey’s injury against a very underwhelming Falcons defense. The Falcons rank 26th in defensive scoring and 31st in passing yards allowed. It is likely Teddy Bridgewater will be airing it out early and often in order to get off to a fast start.

That said, the Panthers will need McCaffrey as they enter the second half of the season against the Chiefs.

Carolina can improve to 4-4 with a win over the Falcons on Sunday, and the Panthers are very much alive in the NFC playoff chase. The one thing they have struggled to do as of late is score in the red zone.

McCaffrey is one of the top red zone threats in football, and it will be crucial for the Panthers to establish him in what might be a high-scoring affair against the Chiefs.