Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey remains on target to return in two weeks after his team's bye, head coach Matt Rhule said Monday.
The 24-year-old playmaker has appeared in only three games this season, racking up 225 rushing yards, 149 receiving yards and six total touchdowns. Most recently, he has been sidelined by a shoulder injury.
Carolina has dropped to 4-8 and sits in last place in the NFC South division, but Rhule said his team's record would not cause him to bench McCaffrey.
"Not being in the playoffs will not affect me playing a player," Rhule said.
McCaffrey has tallied 45 touchdowns in four-plus seasons in the NFL. He had more than 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving a year ago.
"He's a top-five NFL player," Rhule said. "I just think you add Christian in the mix, he's a fantastic player, he brings a lot to the table.
"He creates matchups. He allows you to be creative."
The Panthers' final four games include a home date against the Denver Broncos on Dec. 13; road games against the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 19 and the Washington Football Team on Dec. 27; and a home finale against the New Orleans Saints on Jan. 3.
--Field Level Media