Should the Panthers shut Christian McCaffrey down for the season?
By Dean Jones
It’s extremely unlikely the Carolina Panthers will shut down Christian McCaffrey.
If McCaffrey is fit enough, he’ll play.
Head coach Matt Rhule and the organization have been airing on the side of caution with McCaffrey throughout his high ankle sprain. And all it would take is one more awkward fall for the shoulder to go again, which is increasingly likely given the blows that come with playing running back in the NFL.
There is absolutely no point in McCaffrey being risked when there is nothing worth playing for. Keeping him healthy is going to be pivotal to Carolina’s pursuit of a possible postseason berth sooner rather than later. But one doesn’t think there is much the decision-makers can do if the player himself turns down their request and demands to get onto the gridiron.
However drastic this might be, it is something worth keeping a close eye on. McCaffrey is a resolute individual who is now the face of the franchise following the departure of Cam Newton this offseason and is one of only three men throughout league history to go over 1,000-yards rushing and receiving in the same season.
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These injury problems are something he’s been able to avoid throughout his career before this season. Shutting him down is the most extreme of measures and there would be nobody more surprised than McCaffrey himself.