Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey activated from injured reserve, expected to return vs. Patriots

Christian McCaffrey is back. On Saturday, the Carolina Panthers activated the all-world running back from his latest stint on the team’s injured reserve list, the team announced. This puts him in line to return Sunday against the New England Patriots, and that would add an explosive weapon back to an offensive-needy offense that is also not sure Sam Darnold will be available. While Darnold cleared concussion protocol Saturday, it’s still undetermined if he’ll be active in Week 9, especially considering he’s also nursing a shoulder injury.

Should Darnold be ruled out, it’ll be P.J. Walker getting the nod. Walker took the reins initially when Darnold was benched by Matt Rhule recently, but it was Darnold who started in the Panthers’ victory over the Atlanta Falcons last week.

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For McCaffrey, it’s not simply about returning to the field, it’s about staying on it. The Panthers have been very pleased with the performance of Chuba Hubbard as the starter, and while that’s not to say Hubbard could beat out McCaffrey — who is also one of the best receiving running backs in football — it is to say the more often he goes down with an injury, the more valuable…

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