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Short weeks mean long days for Christian McCaffrey 

Christian McCaffrey

CHARLOTTE — Christian McCaffrey is meticulous in his planning of a week of physical preparedness.

So subtracting three days from any week has its consequences.

The running back acknowledged the complications of the tight schedule for his recovery as the Panthers head into their trip to Houston for Thursday's game.

"Obviously, in a short week, it's really important that you get your body back," McCaffrey said. "Really, just whatever you'd do in a full week, you've got to condense that into the short amount of time you have. Anything I'd do during a normal Sunday-to-Sunday seven-day week, the window's tighter to do that. . . .

"Really, it's all day, every day, getting right for Thursday."

That means that if he normally scheduled an hour of chiropractic work on a particular day (or time doing pool work, or bouncing between a hot tub and cold, or treatment), he's jamming two hours in this week. For a guy who tracks his own sleep and everything that goes into his body, nothing is left to chance.

"I wouldn't say there's anything different, just everything's multiplied," he said.

That's hardly a coincidence, as his days are busier than ever. McCaffrey leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage this season (324) and doesn't get much time off.

McCaffrey missed a couple of series against the Saints in the third quarter, with what was initially termed cramps. McCaffrey shrugged that off, saying they were "onset cramps, I wasn't fully cramping or anything."

"We just thought it was best, just precautionary, to go in there and pluck a couple of IVs into me, just in case so we can roll through the fourth quarter," he said. "We tried to do that really quickly, right at the end of the third so we could make it back for the fourth. That's really what we did."

He said that so casually, the getting two bags of intravenous fluid. But that's just part of the life, so when asked if that had happened before here, he said: "Yeah, you guys don't know about it, but yeah."

It didn't appear to bother him, as he returned to the game and scored a game-sealing touchdown in the fourth quarter to cap a 137-yard day, which included another one of those plays that few can make, and he seems to do routinely.

"It's exciting to go back. I think the most fun is when you watch film the next day," tight end Dan Arnold said Sunday. "He's seeing holes and he's hitting them, and just making plays. That one-handed snag for a third down, it's like, 'Whoa, this is a special guy.' He's really special. It's just really awesome to watch him."

But last week's behind him, because frankly, there's no time to look back. And he's ready for it.

McCaffrey wasn't on the simulated injury report for Monday at all (the Panthers only held a walk-through), so his status isn't an issue.

"No concerns," head coach Matt Rhule said of his star running back.

If they can get through this week, there's a chance to take a breath afterward, with the flip side of a short week being a long weekend before they go to Dallas in Week 4.

"You have to fit a full week of install and a full week of meetings into a short amount of time, but at the same time, on the back end, you get more days off for the next game," McCaffrey said. "It has its perks as well. At the end of the day, it is what it is, and we've got to just roll with the punches, and whatever the week asks of us, just go dominate the week and get ready to play ball on Thursday.

"To me, it doesn't matter. It is what it is. You just have to focus on the same stuff you always focus on, taking care of your body, taking care of your mind, and then getting in the installs and match it to the game plan so you can play fast."

View the best select photos from Carolina's win over New Orleans in Week 2 at Bank of America Stadium.

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