Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey will play in Sunday’s Week 3 game against the Saints after being a full participant during Friday’s practice. McCaffrey sat out Wednesday’s practice with ankle stiffness and was limited during Thursday’s practice.
McCaffrey managed a relatively light workload during the season’s first two weeks. He had 33 touches for 185 all-purpose yards and a score over that span that included his 102-yard rushing performance in last Sunday’s 19-16 loss to the Giants.
The Panthers are hoping to keep McCaffrey on the field this season after he missed a combined 23 games over the previous two seasons with injuries. In 2019, the last season where he was fully healthy, McCaffrey earned All-Pro honors after be became only the third running back in NFL history to surpass 1,000 yards rushing and receiving. He finished that season with 1,387 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns and 1,005 yards and four touchdowns on 116 receptions.
While McCaffrey is off to a good start, the Panthers haven’t gotten much from their other backs. Newcomer D’Onta Foreman and second-year back Chuba Hubbard have a combined five carries thus far. Baker Mayfield, the Panthers’ new starting quarterback, is actually second on the team in rushing entering Sunday’s game against the Saints.
McCaffrey was one of six players who appeared on the Panthers’ weekly injury report. Cornerbacks Donte Jackson (hamstring) and Stantley Thomas-Oliver (Achilles) have both been ruled as questionable for Sunday’s game. Jackson was a full participant during Friday’s practice after being limited on Wednesday and Thursday. Thomas-Oliver did not practice Friday and was limited on Thursday.