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Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey to miss at least 3 games after being placed on injured reserve

Christian McCaffrey won't be coming back early from a high-ankle sprain.

The Carolina Panthers placed the running back on injured reserve on Wednesday.

The move sidelines McCaffrey for at least three weeks.

With a projected timetable of four to six weeks for a high-ankle sprain recovery, it was smart of the team to use this year's IR rules to its advantage and free up a roster spot.

Placing CMC on IR also ensures that the running back can't push to return before he's fully ready. We've seen injuries linger when a player comes back too soon. The Panthers want to ensure that the running back is right for years to come, not just in two weeks. McCaffrey already began discussing returning earlier than the four-week timetable, so placing him on injured reserve gives the team a little more leeway before the RB drives to return early.

With McCaffrey out for at least the next three weeks, Mike Davis is in line for lead-back duties in Matt Rhule's offense. It's also possible receiverCurtis Samuelsees snaps from the backfield, which is something the coach mentioned back in July, well before CMC's injury.

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