Christian McCaffrey is one step closer to returning to play, as the Panthers have officially designated him to return from injured reserve.
The move was expected after head coach Matt Rhule said on Monday that McCaffrey was set to practice on Wednesday.
McCaffrey hasn’t played since Week Three when he suffered a hamstring injury during Carolina’s Thursday victory over Houston. The running back did not initially go on IR, as the team hoped he would be able to return within three weeks. But that changed when Carolina placed him on the list on Oct. 16.
Since becoming only the third player in league history to reach 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season in 2019, McCaffrey had played just six games. He was on the field for only three contests in 2020 due to various injuries. In 2021, he’s accounted for 364 yards from scrimmage — 201 rushing, 163 receiving — and one touchdown.
The Panthers have 21 days to activate McCaffrey to the 53-man roster. Depending on how practice goes this week, he could play in Sunday’s matchup with the Patriots.
Additionally, Carolina designated punter Joseph Charlton to return from IR. he’s been sidelined since Week Six with a back injury.
The Panthers also made two practice squad moves, signing defensive tackle Treyvoon Hester and releasing offensive lineman Aaron Monteiro.