Christian McCaffrey officially did not practice, three weeks after straining hamstring

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Panthers coach Matt Rhule had described running back Christian McCaffrey as “50-50” for Sunday’s game against the Vikings. That assessment probably should be moved to at least 49-51.

McCaffrey officially didn’t practice on Thursday, due to a hamstring injury he suffered three weeks ago tonight, against the Texans.

McCaffrey had participated on a limited basis in four straight practices. Given the nature of hamstring strains, his absence suggests that he suffered a setback.

Since signing a long-term contract worth $16 million per year after making it through three seasons without missing a single game, McCaffrey has played in a total of six games. He has had 111 rushing attempts and 33 catches.

On one hand, his ankle and shoulder injuries (in 2020) and hamstring injury (in 2021) show that it’s risky to pay running backs big money. On the other hand, the injuries prove how smart it was for him to get paid when he did.

Also not practicing for the Panthers on Thursday were linebacker Shaq Thompson (foot) and linebacker Kamal Martin (concussion). Cornerback C.J. Henderson (shoulder) practiced on a limited basis.