CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) – Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey left Sunday’s loss against the Miami Dolphins early with an ankle injury, and the rusher landed on injured reserve for the second time this year, ending his season, per NFL rules.
McCaffrey’s MRIs revealed the injury was not severe, but Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said Monday morning the injury was severe enough that it was season-ending in order for it to heal properly.
The acclaimed back missed the final series of the first half, and after trying to give it a go in the opening series of the second half Sunday, could not, and was shut down. He will miss the final five games of the season, after already missing five games of 2021 due to a hamstring injury.
McCaffrey signed a four-year, $64 million dollar extension to make him the highest-paid running back in NFL history, but has played just 10 of 33 possible games since signing the deal once 2021 concludes.
Running back Chuba Hubbard filled in for McCaffrey in his five-game absence and topped 60 yards in three of them, including more than 100 in week five at home against the Philadelphia Eagles.
He totaled 89 carries for 329 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns, as well as 88 yards on 18 catches in those games.
His 3.7 YPC trails McCaffrey’s by three-quarters of a yard, who sits at 4.46, who will finish with 442 yards on 99 carries.
The rookie is expected to be backed up by RB Ameer Abdullah.