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Report: Panthers star Christian McCaffrey’s status for Week 8 vs. Falcons

Christian McCaffrey, Panthers

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was eligible to return for this past weekend’s game against the New Orleans Saints after landing on injured reserve early in the year due to a high ankle sprain.

However, McCaffrey did not suit up on Sunday, and he might not play in Carolina’s Week 8 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports McCaffrey currently isn’t looking likely to play on Thursday night. However, the former Stanford star will attempt to ease his way back into practice in a potential effort to play:

McCaffrey has not played since Week 2 due to the injury, but the Panthers have managed to press on despite his absence.

Mike Davis had some success filling in for McCaffrey as the all-purpose back capable of churning out yards on the ground or being a receiver out of the backfield. However, Davis was mostly neutralized against the Saints on Sunday, rushing seven times for just 12 yards and managing five receptions for just 24 yards.

Carolina is still having success on the offensive side of the ball despite the inability to assert the run in recent weeks. Teddy Bridgewater completed 23-of-28 attempts for 254 yards and a pair of scores on Sunday, and is completing over 72 percent of his passes while averaging 8.2 yards gained per pass attempt on the season.

It is worth noting, however, the Panthers are having issues punching the ball in when they get to the red zone, which is often McCaffrey’s specialty whether making plays as a runner or receiver.

Still, Carolina will be careful with its star back ahead of a date with a woeful Falcons defense. It makes sense to play the long game, given the Panthers — at 3-4 — are in good shape while also trying to protect their offseason investment in CMC.