CHARLOTTE — Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey will miss multiple weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 31-17 loss to the Buccaneers.
Head coach Matt Rhule announced the news Monday afternoon.
"I hate it for him. No one wants to be out there and play more than Christian does, but everything happens for a reason," Rhule said. "I'm sure he'll rehab. I'm sure he's rehabbing right now. I talked to him earlier today and he'll get back as soon as he can."
McCaffrey ran in his second touchdown of the game on fourth-and-2 with 13:25 left but walked off the field gingerly. Athletic trainers then re-wrapped McCaffrey's right ankle, but he never returned. Rhule said the injury occurred two plays prior to the touchdown when McCaffrey picked up 2 yards on a carry up the middle.
Sunday was the 50th game of McCaffrey's career. He has not missed a game in his three-plus seasons.
Mike Davis replaced McCaffrey for the remainder of Sunday's loss, finishing the contest with eight receptions for 74 yards and a 1-yard carry. The six-year veteran is presumably the next-man-up in McCaffrey's extended absence.
"I'm just here to do my job, go out there and do whatever coach asks me to do," Davis said Sunday. "I'm not looking to go out there and try to do anything crazy."
The 27-year-old Davis has 10 career starts, eight of which came with Seattle from 2017-18. He rushed for 514 yards and four touchdowns with the Seahawks in 2018. The South Carolina product has registered 890 yards rushing with five rushing touchdowns plus 74 receptions for 504 yards with one touchdown catch since entering the league as a 49ers' fourth-round pick in 2015.
With new rules enacted for the 2020 season, the Panthers could potentially place McCaffrey on the reserve/injured list and bring him back after a minimum of three games. That would allow the club to fill his spot on the 53-man roster temporarily.
Trenton Cannon is the only other running back on the Panthers' active roster, but he fills more of a special teams role. Reggie Bonnafon, who had 23 touches for 173 yards and a touchdown last season, is currently on the practice squad.
View the best photos from the field and behind-the-scenes in Carolina's Week 2 game at Tampa Bay.