CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) – Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was officially designated to return from injured reserve on Wednesday after missing the previous five games with a hamstring injury.

But, he has not yet been activated to the active roster ahead of the Panthers’ Week 9 home clash with the New England Patriots.

Carolina head coach Matt Rhule said McCaffrey was a limited participant in practice Wednesday and was not involved in a ton of plays, a release from said.

Due to McCaffrey not being activated to the active roster, the Panthers do not have to officially assign him an injury designation after each practice during the week. That being said, Rhule and Carolina have not released a statement on McCaffrey’s participation status during their Thursday practice.

So far, the Panthers have not yet ruled McCaffrey out for Sunday’s game, however.

Additionally, his return to practice on Wednesday officially opened a 21-day window for Carolina to officially activate him to the active roster or shut him down permanently for the season.

McCaffrey has 201 rushing yards in three games this season, as well as 163 yards through the air. But he has only played a total of six games in the last two seasons.

If he is unable to go, rookie backup Chuba Hubbard will again get the start against New England’s 13-ranked rush defense. Hubbard has 329 yards in five starts this season during McCaffrey’s absence, averaging just under 66 yards per game.

Kickoff in Charlotte is slated for 1 p.m. eastern.