Panthers have overused Christian McCaffrey, says Tiki Barber

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Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey isn't a fan of the league's Thursday night games. Add him to a long list of players with the same opinion.

Speaking to reporters for the first time since suffering a hamstring strain in the team's Thursday night win against the Houston Texans on Sept. 23, McCaffrey said he "definitely" feels the short week contributed to his injury. Fair or foul, Tiki and Tierney discussed McCaffrey's comments during Friday's show.

"I think the bigger issue for a guy like Christian McCaffrey is that they overuse him in games," Tiki said. "While he's making a little bit of an excuse that the Thursday quick turnaround was a reason why he hurt his hamstring, I think a lot of it is, the Panthers let him stay in the game, or give him so many reps. And I'm not talking about carries.

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"I'm talking about being on the field and at a heightened level for three hours. It's a lot for your body to handle... He's been overused. That doesn't mean his future is in jeopardy, by any stretch of the imagination. He'll be fine. He's just got to be better with his body. And the Panthers need to help him be better by not giving him 90 to 100-percent of the snaps in some of these games."

Although McCaffrey's injury isn't considered serious -- he was limited during practice this week -- Panthers head coach Matt Rhule told reporters on Friday that the former All-Pro is doubtful to play in Sunday's home game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He could return on Oct. 17, against the Minnesota Vikings.

McCaffrey is all too familiar with the injury bug. He played just three games in 2020 due to lingering ankle and shoulder issues, one year after becoming the third player in history to have 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season. McCaffrey entered Week 3's matchup against Houston with a league-high 324 total yards from scrimmage and one touchdown.

Carolina (3-1) and Philadelphia (1-3) are scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon. According to FiveThirtyEight's projections, the Panthers have a 49-percent chance to reach the playoffs and a 16-percent chance to win the NFC South.

Tiki and Tierney's complete thoughts on McCaffrey and the Panthers can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow the Tiki and Tierney Show on Twitter @TikiAndTierney and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.