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Carolina Panthers place Christian McCaffrey on injured reserve, ending 2021 season

Matt Johnson
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is being placed on injured reserve and will miss the remainder of the 2021 NFL season.

McCaffrey suffered an ankle injury during Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins. He played just one snap in the second half and was spotted leaving through the tunnel in a walking boot after the game.

Initially, the Panthers hoped that the All-Pro running back could return after the Week 13 bye. But the team announced Monday that MRI results determined he is dealing with a more significant injury, forcing him to miss the remainder of the season.

  • Christian McCaffrey stats (2021): 442 rushing yards, 343 receiving yards and two total touchdowns

“An MRI Monday morning revealed an injury severe enough to place him on injured reserve. Because of the time it would take to recover, and because it will be his second time on injured reserve this season, the news means McCaffrey will miss out on the Panthers’ final five regular-season games after the bye week.”

Carolina Panthers statement on Christian McCaffrey’s season-ending injury

McCaffrey previously missed five games this year due to a hamstring injury, requiring a stint on the short-term injured reserve. Under NFL rules, any subsequent stint on IR requires him to sit out the remainder of the season.

  • Christian McCaffrey contract: $14.3 million cap hit (2022), $17.7 million cap hit (2023, 2024), $13.6 million cap hit (2025)

Signed to a four-year, $64 million contract extension before the 2020 season, lower-body injuries have now sidelined McCaffrey for much of the past two years. After playing in all 16 games in his first three seasons, the All-Pro back has played in just 10 combined games over the last two years.

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