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Christian McCaffrey injury: Panthers RB going on IR with season-ending injury

We break down Monday’s news that Christian McCaffrey is headed to IR for his ankle injury.

Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers walks back to the locker room after Carolina was defeated by Miami 33-10 at Hard Rock Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

1:50 p.m. update: Ian Rapoport is reporting McCaffrey is going on injured reserve and his season is over. This is a surprise, as McCaffrey appeared close to returning to the game on Sunday after injuring his ankle, but tests must have shown more extensive damage. Backup Chuba Hubbard becomes a priority waiver wire add with McCaffrey done for the season.

Since McCaffrey had already gone on short-term I.R., the team couldn’t place him there again. They are likely playing it safe with him in yet another lost season. They’ll hope to somehow find a quarterback this offseason to pair with a healthy McCaffrey next year.

The Carolina Panthers head into their bye week and it couldn’t come at a better time. The team is struggling on the field, and now is also dealing with a Christian McCaffrey injury. Their star running back injured his ankle in Week 12 and was seen wearing a walking boot after the game.

On Monday, head coach Matt Rhule told the media that McCaffrey’s ankle x-ray came back negative and he will get on MRI to assess any other damage. Rhule said the injury did not appear serious, but the MRI would tell more, per Darin Gantt.

Fantasy football implications

Chuba Hubbard is the Panthers’ No. 2 back and would get the workload if McCaffrey has to miss any time with the injury. Hubbard isn’t a big waiver priority for now, but with most waivers running late Tuesday or early Wednesday, we should know McCaffrey’s status before a decision has to be made. Even if McCaffrey won’t miss time, Hubbard is worth an add if you’ve got a spare roster spot given McCaffrey’s occasionally spotty injury history.