Panthers place McCaffrey on IR; RB can’t return until Week 9

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Christian McCaffrey

FILE – In this Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, file photo, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey watches play from the sideline during the first half of a NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. McCaffrey did not practice Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, a sign that he could miss his third straight game while trying to rehab from a hamstring injury. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers have placed running back Christian McCaffrey on injured reserve, meaning he will miss at least the next three games with a hamstring injury.

McCaffrey already has missed two games, both Carolina losses.

The earliest he will be able to return to game action is Nov. 7 against the New England Patriots. McCaffrey will have missed 18 of 24 games with injuries since becoming the league’s highest-paid running back following the 2019 season.

The Panthers (3-2) host the Minnesota Vikings (2-3) on Sunday. Chuba Hubbard will continue to start for McCaffrey.

McCaffrey practiced on Wednesday on a limited basis but was held out on Thursday and Friday.

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