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Panthers won't place Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) on injured reserve

Christian McCaffrey's hamstring injury will keep him out a few weeks, but won't land him on injured reserve.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule told reporters Monday the team will not place McCaffrey on IR, meaning McCaffrey won't be required to miss three weeks before returning to action. Cornerback Jaycee Horn, meanwhile, was placed on IR with a broken foot and could miss the remainder of the season.

Carolina traded Monday for former first-round pick C.J. Henderson to address the need created by Horn's departure.

McCaffrey's timeframe for return might end up being similar to the minimum requirement instituted by a trip to IR, but keeping him off IR at least allows the Panthers a chance to bring him back sooner. At 3-0, the Panthers are sensing an immediate opportunity and aren't going to tie a hand behind their backs by putting McCaffrey on IR if they don't have to.

Hamstring injuries tend to be fickle and often become a nagging issue, though, so despite the hot start, caution would be wise when dealing with the Panthers' most important player. Should McCaffrey return in less than three weeks, he'd suit up for a game that could tell us plenty about the state of the Panthers when they face Minnesota in Week 6.

Until then, it's all about resting and recovering for McCaffrey as the Panthers aim to improve to 4-0 this weekend against the Cowboys in Arlington.

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