CHARLOTTE (N.C.) -- Christian McCaffrey, running back for the Carolina Panthers, will be absent his 16th consecutive game and 16th in 22 games under Matt Rhule's coaching. The Carolina Panthers face the Minnesota Vikings at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday.
McCaffrey has been suffering from a hamstring injury ever since he injured it in the second quarter during a Sept. 23 victory at Houston. Rhule felt optimistic that the Pro Bowl would be back this week, after having only practiced last week.
McCaffrey was again limited on Wednesday, and didn't practice Thursday or Friday. The Panthers had to turn to Chuba Hubbard, a rookie, as their starter.
Rhule would not call McCaffrey's inability to be ready this week a setback.
Rhule stated that "it just hasn’t been there yet." He's doing all he can. It's been three months. It's been three weeks. We expect him to be back next week.
McCaffrey was injured in three different ways last season and missed 13 games. The Panthers extended his contract for a four-year, $64M extension.
Rhule repeated on Friday what he had said Wednesday: that the Panthers were not going to rush McCaffrey and any other player back.
He said Wednesday, "When the doctor clears him and the player feels like he can play, then we'll go along with him."
McCaffrey expressed optimism last week that he would be ready for Philadelphia. However, Friday's ruling was not favorable. McCaffrey admitted that the past year was frustrating but did not have an explanation for each of his injuries.
McCaffrey stated, "I wish that I had all the answers," "If I had all the answers, man... "If I had the answers, man...
McCaffrey was the victim of McCaffrey's injury bug after he had 1,000 yards rushing and receiving during the 2019 season.
Joe Brady, the Panthers' offensive coordinator, doesn't dispute that McCaffrey is a better player than Brady. Analytics back that up, especially when it comes to quarterback Sam Darnold being pressured and then sacked.
Darnold was sacked eight times in the last two games without McCaffrey. Only three times was Darnold sacked in the two first games McCaffrey played the majority of the snaps.
With 17 sacks, Minnesota is second in the NFL.
Brady is still confident in Hubbard who ran for 101 yards on 24 carries last week.
It's not like saying, "Oh, man! We lost our entire offense because we only have one guy [out Brady] "We have enough playmakers in this team. "I need to do a better job getting the ball into their hands, and we must execute at a higher standard."