Rhule: McCaffrey officially out for Sunday but injury not expected to be season-ending

CHARLOTTE — Panthers coach Matt Rhule has officially announced that running back Christian McCaffrey will not play on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of a shoulder injury.

The Panthers star running back suffered a shoulder injury during the game in Kansas City a few weeks ago, according to Rhule.

Rhule said he doesn’t expect McCaffrey to miss the rest of the season and is hopeful that he can be back next week against the Lions.

Joe Person of theathletic.com posted on Twitter early Wednesday that McCaffrey will not play Sunday, “per league source.”

In another post, Person said, “day-to-day just became week-to-week” for McCaffrey.

Head coach Matt Rhule on Monday said McCaffrey was considered “day-to-day.” During his media availability on Wednesday, Rhule admitted that McCaffrey did not practice that morning and probably would not play Sunday.

A source familiar with the situation said McCaffrey will be getting a second medical opinion on his injured right shoulder.

Rhule described the injury as an AC joint issue, saying it is not known as a long-term injury. Rhule said McCaffrey has a separation of the AC joint, which is located at the tip of the shoulder where the shoulder blade and collarbone meet. The bones are connected by ligaments.

McCaffrey sustained the injury with 1:10 to go in the game when he was tackled near the sideline by Chiefs linebacker Dan Sorensen after a 1-yard reception. McCaffrey exited for a few plays but returned to catch a pass for no gain with nine seconds left.

McCaffrey had just returned from the reserve/injured list after missing Carolina’s last six games with a high ankle sprain. He played 59 of 83 offensive snaps (71%), totaling 151 yards from scrimmage and two total touchdowns on 18 touches.

Mike Davis started the six previous games in McCaffrey’s place and will do so again. On 26 snaps Sunday, Davis recorded five receptions for 34 yards, one carry for 3 yards, and had a few critical blocks.

Overall, Davis has 631 yards from scrimmage and four total touchdowns this season. He’s second on the team with 43 receptions.

Myles Simmons from the Carolina Panthers contributed to this article.

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