Back to McCaffrey Practice, in Darnold Concussion Protocol

CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) — The Carolina Panthers appeared to practice across the pads on Wednesday, leaving behind Christian McCaffrey and quarterback Sam Darnold. However, his position remained high enough for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots.

McCaffrey, who missed his last five games due to a hamstring injury, has been named to return from injured reserve and the team has 21 days to decide whether to add him to the 53-man roster.

Darnold remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol, although his presence in practice is a positive sign.

McCaffrey went through individual practice and was seen skipping across the field and appeared to be in good spirits during the 20-minute practice open to the media. Darnold had left the field before the arrival of the media.

The Panthers (4-4) are looking to build on last week’s 19-13 win over the Atlanta Falcons, which snapped a four-game losing stake.

If Darnold can’t play, PJ Walker will get a start at quarterback and either James Morgan or Josh Love will be his backup. Both are currently in the practice team. Walker has started a game in the NFL, leading the Panthers to victory over the Detroit Lions last season.

Chuba Hubbard is handling most of the rep running back for the Panthers, bypassing McCaffrey. Hubbard has rushed for 391 yards and two touchdowns this season, while averaging 3.6 yards per carry.

McCaffrey, an All-Pro in 2019, was off to a strong start before Carolina went down in the first half of Week 3 against the Houston Texans. He had 364 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown in the first 10 quarters of the season. He hasn’t played since.

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More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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