Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey will be sidelined a minimum of three weeks after getting relegated to IR. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers have placed Christian McCaffrey on injured reserve, per a club announcement. The running back’s high-ankle sprain will keep him out of action for a minimum of three weeks, per league rules.

The Panthers will monitor McCaffrey’s recovery, but it’s likely that he’ll need more than the minimum IR stint to get back to 100% health. At the very least, he’ll be out for games against the Chargers, Cardinals and Falcons. He’ll be eligible to return on Oct. 18 when the Panthers take on the Bears in Carolina, but they won’t be able to bank on his availability.

For now, the Panthers figure to turn things over to Mike Davis, who finished Sunday’s game with eight catches for 74 yards. Before that, McCaffrey was his usual stellar self in the season opener, rushing for 97 yards. And, even in a trying 2019 for the team, McCaffrey still managed 1,387 rushing yards off of 287 carries, giving him an average of 4.8 yards per tote. He also caught 116 passes for 1,005 yards through the air. All combined, he notched 19 touchdowns on the year, paving the way towards his record-breaking four-year, $64M deal in the offseason.

As of this writing, Trenton Cannon represents the only other RB on the depth chart behind Davis. They also have fullback Alex Armah on hand, but practice squad running back Reggie Bonnafon seems a likely call-up for this week. Beyond that, they may want to explore the free-agent market if McCaffrey is out for an extended period.

This article first appeared on Pro Football Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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