The Panthers could be without star running back Christian McCaffrey on Sunday as he is questionable ahead of the clash against the Arizona Cardinals.
Panthers fans were hoping that maybe this season would be different than the previous two when it came to the health of star offensive weapon Christian McCaffrey. After injuries plagued the former first-round pick in the 20 and 21 campaigns it had seemed that CMC had made it through the first three weeks of the season unscathed but alas no such luck.
As seems to be the norm for McCaffrey this season the stud RB was held from Wednesday’s practice as the Panthers try to manage his workload and prevent injuries, however, it was also reported that McCaffrey had also picked up a quad injury in the aftermath of the Panthers first win of the season against the New Orleans Saints.
When CMC logged consecutive DNPs in practice fans started to worry that the injury bug had struck the player again, couple this with a tweet from CBS Sports Jonathon Jones who reported this injury was more cause for concern than previous nicks that had landed CMC on the injury report. However, we saw some positive news Friday as McCaffrey was at practice and participated in a limited fashion and was officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.
It was later reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network that was optimism inside the Panthers organization that CMC would be able to go Sunday. And frankly, it’s vital for the Panthers’ stagnant offense that the player is healthy, we’ve seen through the first three weeks of the season that the passing offense led by Baker Mayfield is frankly non-existent and without McCaffrey being healthy it’s very plausible the Panthers offense will struggle.
Panthers Trio Also On The Injury Report.
The Panthers also have other players questionable heading into Sunday, Laviska Shenault who announced himself to Panthers fans in week three with a 67-yard TD is questionable with a hamstring injury, if Shenault is unable to go it may provide an opportunity for Terrace Marshall JR to get some reps, the 2021 second-round pick was a healthy scratch in week three. Marshall who was a star throughout camp has struggled with injuries so far in his short NFL career.
The Panthers also have a pair of questionable designations on the defensive side of the ball, defensive end Marquis Haynes who scored a touchdown on a scoop and score is questionable with a knee injury after he was limited on Friday following not practicing Thursday. For the second week in a row special teams ace Stantley Thomas Oliver is questionable with an Achilles issue, considering Thomas-Oliver practiced all week albeit in a limited fashion he should be ready to go come Sunday.
Cardinals Lengthy Injury Report
The Cardinals come in this game with an extensive injury report as they list nine players as out or questionable ahead of this Sunday’s clash in Charlotte. WR AJ Green (Knee), DL Rashard Lawrence (Hand), and LB Ezekiel Turner (Ankle) are all listed as out heading into the game, the Cardinals also have some question marks on some star players heading into Sunday’s game.
With stud WR DeAndre Hopkins serving a six-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy the last thing head coach Cliff Kingsbury would have wanted is injuries at WR and that’s what he has. WR pair Marquise Brown and Rondale Moore are both listed as questionable, Moore a second-round pick in 2021 is yet to feature this season as he recovers from a hamstring injury, it’s been reported that Kingsbury is optimistic that Moore can make his season debut Sunday but doesn’t want to rush the player.
In terms of Brown, the former Baltimore Raven popped up on the report Friday as he was limited with a foot injury. The former Baltimore Raven has had a stellar start to his career in Arizona logging 24 receptions for 251 yards and a score through three weeks. But with the possibility that Brown and Moore both miss out Sunday that would leave former Panther, Greg Dortch, as WR1 for Kyler Murray.
The Cardinals also have some concerns on the defensive side of the ball as veteran defensive end JJ Watt is questionable with a Calf/Illness, the three-time DPOY who has 104 sacks over an illustrious NFL career didn’t practice until Friday when he was limited, however, Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph was “optimistic” the former Houston Texan would be ready to go Sunday which would mean another tough test for Panthers rookie LT Ikem Ekwonu.
Full Cardinals Injury Report.
WR A.J. Green (Knee) – OUT
DL Rashard Lawrence (Hand) – OUT
LB Ezekiel Turner (Ankle) – OUT
WR Marquise Brown (NIR-Rest/Foot) – QUESTIONABLE
LB Zaven Collins (Shoulder) – QUESTIONABLE
OL Rodney Hudson (Knee) – QUESTIONABLE
WR Rondale Moore – QUESTIONABLE
K Matt Prater (Right Hip) – QUESTIONABLE
DL J.J. Watt (Calf/Illness) – QUESTIONABLE