Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22), shown Sept. 8, 2019, suffered the left ankle injury during the first half of the Panthers' loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. File Photo by Nell Redmond/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Carolina Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey will miss the rest of the season due to a left ankle injury that he suffered during the first half of Sunday's 33-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule told reporters Monday that McCaffrey's initial X-rays indicated the injury didn't appear to be severe. However, an MRI later in the morning revealed the damage was enough to land McCaffrey on season-ending injured reserve.
"I love playing football and have dedicated my entire life to what I believe to be the greatest sport in the world," McCaffrey wrote on Instagram. "Getting healthy and back on the field this season has been my focus every day from the time I wake up until I go to bed.
"I've put family, friends and all other interests on hold so I can fully concentrate my efforts on treatment, training, practicing, studying, preparing, and playing the game I love at the highest level, which is why my season coming to an abrupt end today leaves me devastated. I am thankful to everyone who continue to help and support me through this difficult time and promise I will fight with everything I have to return bigger, stronger, faster, and better than ever."
The Panthers (5-7) have a bye this week, meaning McCaffrey will miss the team's final five regular-season games. He already has missed five games this year with a hamstring injury that he suffered in Week 3.
Since signing a four-year, $64 million contract extension that made him the highest-paid running back in NFL history, McCaffrey will have appeared in just 10 of 33 games by the end of the 2021 season. He missed 13 games last season due to multiple injuries.
McCaffrey's latest injury occurred during the second quarter of Sunday's game in Miami. He didn't play the final series of the half and played just one snap in the second half before the team shut him down.
McCaffrey finishes the 2021 season with 442 rushing yards, 343 receiving yards and two total touchdowns in seven games.
In McCaffrey's absence, the Panthers are expected to lean on rookie Chuba Hubbard and Ameer Abdullah.