The Carolina Panthers will have to forge ahead without their top running back Christian McCaffrey thanks to a high-ankle sprain he suffered during a Week 2 defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Despite, the diagnosis, the Stanford graduate is trusting in God to help him return to action.
The timeline that team doctors gave McCaffrey after his injury was four to six weeks, but the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft is determined to return to the field much sooner.
“They say four to six weeks, well, that’s a challenge to me,” McCaffrey said during an interview on Monday. “Hopefully I can get back a lot earlier than that, but I’m gonna attack this.”
Prior to his injury on Sunday, McCaffrey had not missed a single game in the three-plus seasons of his NFL career. He signed a $64 million contract extension during the offseason to become the league’s highest-paid running back.
McCaffrey took to Instagram earlier this week to share his thoughts on the myriad of injuries to players during Week 2 and his faith in God that strengthens him during difficult times.
“It’s easy to have faith when everything is going well. But a true soldier has faith in times of adversity. Tough times don’t last, tough people do,” McCaffrey wrote on Instagram. “I pray for all the guys who suffered injuries across the league for speedy recoveries…”
McCaffrey wholeheartedly believes that life is about so much more than sports. While starring at Stanford in 2016, the Pro Bowl running back talked about his faith in an article for The Player’s Tribune titled “Why I Play Football.”
“When you see me take the field, know that I’m playing for more than just football. I have a strong faith in God,” McCaffrey wrote. “I don’t think He’s looking down on me and hoping that I score touchdowns. Nah, He just wants to see that I did my absolute best on that particular day.”
While on the field, McCaffrey often displays his faith in God through his mannerisms or gestures. He said “I beat my chest five times and I point up to God” as part of his typical touchdown celebration. He is often seen praying before and after games as well.
“I don’t play football for the personal accolades. I don’t play football for the fame. I play football for the love of the game,” McCaffrey added.