BOSTON (CBS) — The Carolina Panthers may have their top offensive weapon available on Sunday against the Patriots. They may have their top quarterback, too.
The Panthers activated running back Christian McCaffrey from injured reserve on Saturday, making him eligible to play on Sunday if the team deems him healthy and ready to go. McCaffrey has been out since Week 3 with a hamstring injury. He had been practicing this week, but his activation on Saturday at least indicates that he has a good chance to play vs. the Patriots.
The team might also have Sam Darnold in uniform on Sunday. Darnold was a limited participant in practice all week, after he suffered a concussion and an injury to his throwing shoulder last week against the Falcons. Darnold cleared concussion protocol on Saturday, meaning his shoulder issue is all that could prevent him from playing.
NFL Network’sthat Darnold “at minimum” will be able to serve in a backup role but the Panthers have “hopes that he’ll start and play the entire game.”
Darnold’s passing numbers aren’t overly impressive, as he’s averaging 6.6 yards per attempt, completing 60.6 percent of his passes, while throwing seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. (He does have five rushing touchdowns this season, matching his total from his first three seasons combined.)
But Darnold nevertheless represents the Panthers’ best option. P.J. Walker (one touchdown, five interceptions in his seven NFL games) would be next in line, followed by practice squad QB James Morgan.