Carolina Panthers: Who is Christian McCaffrey’s backup?

Now that it’s confirmed Christian McCaffrey will miss some time, who will step in for the Carolina Panthers?

The Carolina Panthers moved to 3-0 on the season with a 24-9 win over the Houston Texans. But running back Christian McCaffrey exited the game with a hamstring injury, and he was quickly declared out for the game. That’s usually not a great sign.

On Friday, confirmation came. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, McCaffrey is expected to miss a few weeks as the team continues to run tests on his injury. There are no plans to place him on IR, which would require a minimum stay of three weeks.

In case you weren’t watching the “thriller” of a game Thursday night but saw McCaffrey was injured, or are a McCaffrey fantasy owner who somehow hasn’t found out yet, there is certainly a question on your mind.

Panthers: Who is Christian McCaffrey’s backup?

Rookie Chuba Hubbard primarily stepped in for McCaffrey on Thursday night. He finished with 11 carries for 52 yards in the game, while adding three catches (on five targets) for 27 yards. Royce Freeman got some run too, with five carries for 17 yards and one catch for eight yards.

Hubbard is lined up to be the primary back for the Panthers in McCaffrey’s stead. Head coach Matt Rhule confirmed as much post-game.

“I told Chuba at halftime, ‘That’s why we drafted you, man.’ I thought Chuba was outstanding. At the end of the half, we didn’t give him a ton of chances, but I thought he got in there at the end and made some key runs.”

If Hubbard’s name seems familiar, there’s a reason why. He had a disappointing final season at Oklahoma State in 2020, but in 2019 he led the country with 2,094 rushing yards and he led the Big 12 with 21 rushing scores (tied for third in the country). Now he’ll be a lead back in the NFL, with the impossible task of trying to replicate what McCaffrey does.

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