Chuba Hubbard likely to start rest of season for Panthers with Christian McCaffrey out for year

Photo courtesy: Carolina Panthers

Canadian running back Chuba Hubbard is likely to be the Carolina Panthers’ starter for the rest of the season after Christian McCaffrey was ruled out for the year due to an ankle injury he sustained in Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Hubbard is Carolina’s only running back to see action in all twelve games this season, rushing a team-high 122 times for 427 yards and three touchdowns. He has also caught 19 passes for 152 yards and is the team’s fifth-leading receiver behind former CFL all-star Brandon Zylstra.

The Panthers (5-7) are last in the NFC South following a pair of disappointing losses to Washington and Miami, though they remain firmly in the playoff picture. The Minnesota Vikings (5-6) would claim the final wildcard spot in the postseason were to start today, leaving plenty of room for Carolina to make waves in their remaining five regular season games.

The club is currently on a bye week but will return to face the Atlanta Falcons (5-6), a key division rival, at home on Sunday, Dec. 12. The schedule gets tougher over the final four weeks as Carolina will finish the year at Buffalo (7-4), vs. Tampa Bay (8-3), at New Orleans (5-6), and at Tampa Bay.

Hubbard became the first Canadian to start an NFL game at running back since 2001 earlier this season when McCaffrey was out due to injury. The native of Sherwood Park, Alta. was drafted in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma State with whom he was named the Offensive Player of the Year in 2019.

The six-foot, 207-pound ball carrier was also selected in the fifth round of the 2021 CFL Draft by the Calgary Stampeders, though he obviously plans to maximize his career south of the border before considering a possible return to Canada.