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Panthers' Christian McCaffrey says he 'definitely' could play vs. Eagles, blames Thursday game for injury

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 10/7/2021 Cody Benjamin
a close up of a man in a helmet holding a baseball bat: Oct 13, 2019; London, United Kingdom; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) reacts before an NFL International Series game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. © Provided by CBS Sports

Oct 13, 2019; London, United Kingdom; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) reacts before an NFL International Series game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

When Christian McCaffrey went down with a hamstring injury against the Texans in Week 3, early indications were that the running back would miss at least several weeks of action. Now, after just one week on the sidelines, the Panthers star appears on track to make his return. A day after resuming practice with the team, McCaffrey told reporters Thursday he "definitely" has a chance to suit up against the Eagles on Sunday, saying he "feels good" while blaming his latest injury on "Thursday Night Football."

"I don't prefer Thursday night games," McCaffrey said of Carolina's Week 3 matchup, per NFL Media, adding that he "definitely" thinks the short week of preparation contributed to him getting hurt. "You go through a lot in a football game and get two days to recover ... But it is what it is."

The Panthers never placed McCaffrey on injured reserve following his hamstring issue, meaning he was eligible to return to practice this week and will be eligible to play Sunday, if he's ready. According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones, both McCaffrey and the Panthers may wait until 90 minutes before kickoff against the Eagles to make a final decision on the back's availability.

Rookie Chuba Hubbard found mixed results filling in for McCaffrey against the Texans and Cowboys, totaling 24 carries for 109 yards.

McCaffrey is no stranger to injuries. The 25-year-old former All-Pro didn't miss a single game during his first three NFL seasons, but he played just three games in 2020 due to lingering ankle and shoulder issues.

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