Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey not expected to play vs. Lions

It’s only Wednesday, and the Carolina Panthers are already planning to play Week 11 without Christian McCaffrey.

The team announced the running back is not expected to play Sunday against the Detroit Lions due to a shoulder injury that kept him out of Week 10.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule later confirmed that McCaffrey is not expected to suit up this weekend.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport previously reported that CMC was slated to miss practice Wednesday, which wasn’t a good sign for a return this week.

It’s an unusual move to announce a player is expected to miss a game this early in the week and underscores that the Panthers will be extra cautious with their star running back.

After missing six games due to an ankle injury, McCaffrey hurt his shoulder late in Week 9 against Kansas City. He sat out last Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

With CMC expected to sit sitting once again, Mike Davis will see the bulk of the backfield workload. Davis generated 675 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns as McCaffrey’s replacement this year. He left last week’s game briefly due to a thumb injury but returned to finish out the contest.

The Panthers could also increase the amount of snaps receiver Curtis Samuel sees from the backfield against a Lions team that struggles to cover backs in space.

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