Panthers usage of Christian McCaffrey has him becoming injury-prone

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

After yet another injury on Thursday night, it might be time to start saying Christian McCaffrey is becoming an injury-prone player

When Christian McCaffrey signed a four-year, $64 million extension with the Carolina Panthers last year, making him the highest annually paid running back in the league, he was coming off a rare 1,000-1,000 yard All-Pro season and hadn’t missed a single game through the first three years of his career.

McCaffrey was still just 24-years-old when he signed the contract. But his usage rate was high and many worried about how his body would hold up.

Last season, those fears started to come to the forefront as he suffered an ankle sprain and shoulder injury that caused him to miss 13 games.

The debate for Carolina to cut down on McCaffrey’s usage still took place this offseason but he’s a gamer and wants to play.

There’s no knocking him for that. But he’s still human.

On Sunday, McCaffrey left the game with calf cramping but later returned.

Now on Thursday night, he suffered a hamstring strain. It’s uncertain whether one is connected to another since he could’ve been compensating or changing his training up after the calf cramping, but it’s a huge blow to the Panthers as he’s now in Year 2 of his deal.

The hamstring injury is more than likely going to keep him out for a handful of weeks and as painful as it is to say, McCaffrey is becoming an injury-prone player.

Christian McCaffrey injury leaves more questions than answers.

It’s true that the former first-round pick never missed a game before last year. However, McCaffrey is now judged based on how he performs during this large contract.

So far, while he’s been great when he’s on the field, he hasn’t been available a majority of the time.

As the old saying goes.

Availability is the best ability.

This injury might be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back when it comes to the amount McCaffrey is used. But it also has to have the Carolina front office nervous about whether the player can even make it through his entire contract as a reliable asset.

There’s a reason most running backs don’t last long in the NFL and it’s because they take some of the most brutal workloads.

Hopefully, McCaffrey can come back sooner than later and prove us wrong, but it hasn’t looked great.

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