The Carolina Panthers have placed Christian McCaffrey on injured reserve and it means Canadian running back Chuba Hubbard will see more starts.
The decision to put McCaffrey on IR was made after the team’s medical staff met Saturday to discuss the best course of action to get him fully healthy.
The 25-year-old suffered the initial hamstring injury on Sunday, September 23 in Houston. He practiced on a limited basis last week and Wednesday, but was held out Thursday and Friday, and was already ruled out for Sunday’s Week 6 game against the Minnesota Vikings.
While placing him on IR means a minimum three-week absence, making the move Saturday means that this week counts toward that total. He’ll be eligible to return as soon as Week 9 against the New England Patriots.
In the meantime, Hubbard will continue to take his place as the featured ball carrier for Carolina. The 22-year-old has started two games and recorded his first career 100-yard rushing performance in the Panthers Week 5 loss to Philadelphia.
Through five games in his rookie season, the Sherwood Park, AB native has rushed 56 times for 220 yards and caught 12 passes for 78 yards. He’s shown why the Panthers invested a fourth round choice to secure him in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Hubbard was the first RB from Canada to be drafted since Tim Biakabutuka in 1996 when Carolina chose him in the first round. And his season-opener this year marked the first time a Canadian back played in an NFL game since 2015.