Panthers receive decent news on Christian McCaffrey's hamstring injury

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All things considered, the Carolina Panthers received good news on running back Christian McCaffrey. 

The star running back's hamstring injury was one of the few negatives in the Panthers' Thursday night win over the Houston Texans that pushed Carolina to 3-0. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, McCaffrey is not considered a candidate to land on injured reserve. He's instead expected to miss only a few weeks, which has to be welcome news for Matt Rhule's team. 

McCaffrey suffered the injury in the third quarter on Thursday on a 2-yard gain inside the red zone. He stayed in the medical tent on the field for quite a bit of time before exiting the game for good and heading to the Carolina locker room with a limp.

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was off to a strong start in 2021 before suffering a hamstring injury in Week 3 at Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was off to a strong start in 2021 before suffering a hamstring injury in Week 3 at Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

The NFL's yards-from-scrimmage leader with 324, McCaffrey totaled seven rushes for 31 yards and two receptions for 9 yards in the win. He missed a total of 13 games last season with multiple injuries, including a Week 2 high-ankle sprain, but had looked good so far this season.

Who will step in for Christian McCaffrey?

McCaffrey's replacement, Chuba Hubbard, made a statement in his absence with 11 rushes for 52 yards and three grabs for 27 more. The 2021 fourth-round draft pick out of Oklahoma State had been quiet in the first two games of the season, totaling 10 rush yards on eight carries and 4 receiving yards on two catches.

The Canadian-raised Hubbard totaled 3,459 rush yards, 479 yards receiving and 36 total touchdowns in 33 games for the Cowboys. That included a 2019 season in which Hubbard ran for 2,094 yards and 21 TDs before struggling in 2020.

The Panthers face the Dallas Cowboys on the road in Week 4, followed by home matchups with the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings in Weeks 5 and 6, respectively.

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