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Rhule: McCaffrey's injury not expected to be season ending

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Panthers coach Matt Rhule said that while he doesn’t anticipate running back Christian McCaffrey playing on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of a shoulder injury, he doesn’t expect him to miss the rest of the season.

Rhule said McCaffrey has a separation of the AC joint, which is located at the tip of the shoulder where the shoulder blade and collarbone meet. The bones are connected by ligaments.

“It looks like Christian probably won't play,” Rhule said. “I wouldn't say that is 100% percent, but I would say it looks like he's pretty much out for this week and we will see how it is next week."

McCaffrey did not practice on Wednesday.

McCaffrey is getting a second medical opinion on his shoulder, but Rhule doesn't anticipate the 2019 All-Pro, who has already missed six games with a high ankle sprain, will miss all of the final seven games.

“I'm not anticipating that,” Rhule said. “I'm anticipating from I know being much more day to day and week to week than that. But those are doctors and they have to do what's right and Christian has to do what is best for him. I have not entertained that thought" of McCaffrey missing the entire season.

McCaffrey injured the shoulder in the fourth quarter of Carolina's 33-31 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

McCaffrey returned to action on Sunday after missing six games with a high ankle sprain.

He carried 18 times for 69 yards and caught 10 passes for 82 yards while scoring two touchdowns against the defending Super Bowl champions before leaving the game on the final drive when he was tackled and landed on his shoulder.

McCaffrey has six touchdowns in the three games he's played this season, including two in a 31-17 loss to Tampa Bay in Week 2.

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