Caution remains key with Christian McCaffrey as return looms

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /
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Christian McCaffrey
(Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

CBS. Sunday, Dec 13. 87. 1 PM ET. 4-8. 45. 4-8. Panthers -3.5

The Carolina Panthers must remain cautious with Christian McCaffrey.

All signs point to Christian McCaffrey making his return to the starting lineup when the Carolina Panthers take on the Denver Broncos in Week 14. The running back has missed all but 3.5 games this season with ankle and shoulder problems, which has been a considerable blow to head coach Matt Rhule’s chances of making a big impression during his first year with the organization.

There isn’t much to play for down the stretch in Carolina. They are currently sitting at 4-8 and can get to a .500 record at best. But this appears unlikely the strength of opposition in the coming weeks despite Christian McCaffrey occupying the prominent position in the backfield once again.

This could be the spark that the Panthers need following their dismal collapse at the Minnesota Vikings before their bye week. They also have 10 roster and practice squad players on the reserve/COVID-19 list to further complicate matters, which probably indicates McCaffrey is going to get a heavy workload from the moment he steps on the field.

However, caution must remain key for the All-Pro is concerned.

Putting too much in the way of pressure on McCaffrey might do more harm than good. So the Panthers need to keep the bigger picture in mind even if sitting him for the next month is out of the question thanks to his fiercely competitive nature.