The bad beats continue in Charlotte. The Carolina Panthers will lose superstar running back Christian McCaffrey for the remainder of the season due to an ankle injury.
McCaffrey rushed 10 times for 35 yards against the Miami Dolphins before he went down in the second quarter with an ankle injury. He never returned to the game and the Panthers lost 33-10.
McCaffrey underwent an MRI on Monday morning, which revealed an injury significant enough that it will sideline him for the final six weeks of the season. The Panthers (5-7) have a bye in Week 13, but there’s not enough time remaining for McCaffrey to make a comeback.
Earlier this season, McCaffrey went down in Week 3 with a hamstring injury. He missed five games before returning to action in Week 9. In only seven games this season, he contributed 785 combined yards from scrimmage this season, finding the endzone twice. McCaffrey rushed 99 times for 442 yards and one touchdown, but also added 37 receptions for 343 yards and a touchdown.
Since signing a lucrative extension that made him the highest-paid running back in the NFL, McCaffrey played in only 10 games and missed 18 games due to injuries. He missed 13 games last season with a sprained ankle and a shoulder injury.
Rookie Chuba Hubbard did a bang-up job replacing McCaffrey earlier this season. Hubbard rushed 122 times for 427 yards and three touchdowns, but he only added 19 receptions for 152 yards and zero receiving touchdowns.
Rhule: Back to school?
The Panthers took advantage of a soft schedule and jumped out to a 3-0 record with Sam Darnold as their starting quarterback. Things were looking great for the Panthers in late September. Head coach Matt Rhule was in consideration for Coach of the Year, while Darnold saw his odds for Comeback Player of the Year spike.
After McCaffrey went down in Week 3, the real Panthers revealed themselves with a 2-7 record in their last nine games. Along the way, the Panthers lost Darnold and added Cam Newton. Darnold will miss the rest of the season with a fractured shoulder blade. However, Newton looked awful since his triumphant return to Charlotte. He played so poorly against the Dolphins that Rhule benched him in favor of backup PJ Walker.
Rhule, who excelled as the head coach of Baylor, could return to the collegiate ranks sooner than later. He’s on the shortlist to become the next head coach of Oklahoma or LSU. Rhule and Urban Meyer from the Jacksonville Jaguars were also rumored to take the USC vacancy. However, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley beat them to it.