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Panthers designate Christian McCaffrey for return

The Panthers have taken another step toward getting running back Christian McCaffrey back in the lineup.

McCaffrey was designated for return from injured reserve on Tuesday. The move opens a 21-day window for McCaffrey to practice with the team before they’d be faced with a decision to activate him or shut him down for the year.

McCaffrey, who has been out since Week 2 with an ankle injury, was at Monday’s walkthrough in a red, non-contact jersey. Reporters at the open portion of Tuesday’s session report that he was sporting the same jersey before switching to a regular one.

It was reported to be a long shot that McCaffrey will play when the Panthers meet the Falcons on Thursday night. The change in status may have better implications for his chances of playing against the Chiefs in Week 9, although the next couple of days could change the immediate outlook.