CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers on Friday officially ruled Christian McCaffrey out for Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay, but coach Matt Rhule remains hopeful the Pro Bowl running back will return for next week’s game against Detroit.
Rhule said earlier in the week he didn’t expect McCaffrey to play because of a right shoulder injury suffered late in last Sunday’s 33-31 loss at Kansas City. That didn’t change after McCaffrey didn’t practice all week. McCaffrey sought a second opinion on what Rhule called an AC joint issue later in the week that gave a more promising outlook for missing only one game.
This will be the seventh game McCaffrey has missed this season after missing none his first three seasons. The NFL’s highest-paid running back with a yearly salary of $16 million missed six games after suffering a high ankle sprain in a Week 2 loss at Tampa Bay.
The Panthers (3-6) went on a three-game winning streak after McCaffrey’s first injury. They are 0-3 with him this season and have lost 11 straight.
Mike Davis will get his seventh start as McCaffrey’s replacement. Also look for wide receiver Curtis Samuel to take a few snaps at running back with Reggie Bonnafon ruled out with an ankle injury. Trenton Cannon also is available.