Christian McCaffrey ruled out for Week 6, will miss third consecutive game

This time last week, it looked like Christian McCaffrey would be making a sooner-than-expected Week 5 return from his hamstring injury.

But he didn't suit up against the Philadelphia Eagles, and now he won't play in Week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings, either. After being listed as limited in Wednesday's Carolina Panthers practice, McCaffrey was downgraded to out on Thursday.

Head coach Matt Rhule didn't address reporters on Thursday after declaring McCaffrey "50-50" to play this week on Wednesday. The Panthers ruled him out of weekend action on Friday.

McCaffrey is dealing with a soft-tissue hamstring strain that's susceptible to re-injury. His status points to Chuba Hubbard once again leading the Carolina ground game against the Vikings, barring an unexpected change in status.

Sep 19, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) during the pregame action New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Christian McCaffrey didn't practice on Thursday. (Jim Dedmon/Reuters)

McCaffrey suffered the hamstring injury in a Week 3 win over the Houston Texans. He led the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 170 yards on the ground and 154 receiving yards through two weeks prior to his injury. If he can't play on Sunday, he'll have missed three straight games.

McCaffrey missed 14 games last season with various injuries, a scenario the Panthers would obviously like to avoid as they take a conservative approach to bringing the All-Pro performer back to the the field. The last time he played a full schedule in 2019, he led the NFL with 2,392 yards from scrimmage.

The Panthers also ruled out linebacker Shaq Thompson, who is dealing with a foot injury, and linebacker Kamal Martin, who has a concussion.