Sadly for the Carolina Panthers, the injury concerns around Christian McCaffrey have returned. Although he hasn’t missed any games yet, he has missed practice twice this week as he nurses a thigh issue. Even though one of those absences was expected, the Panthers are dealing with a little bit of uncertainty regarding their star running back. He may not be available to play in Week 4.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, there is “optimism” that Christian McCaffrey will still play. The absence from practice is just for precaution and he should play barring a setback.

According to David Newton of ESPN, it’s too soon to determine what McCaffrey’s status will be for Week 4. They will face the Arizona Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium. The Cardinals are just 1-2 but possess a very talented defense. Baker Mayfield will have to rise up and help carry the workload as McCaffrey either misses the game or plays with an injury.

As the last two seasons have shown, the Panthers can not afford for Christian McCaffrey to be sidelined for a lengthy period of time. He has 300 yards from scrimmage through the team’s first three games of the season but just one touchdown. His return from a nearly lost season has been promising, even though it hasn’t been enough to make the team highly competitive.

The Panthers will enter Week 4 looking to win their second straight game. If Christian McCaffrey is sidelined, their chances of taking the win will be slashed.