We are now over the halfway point of the NFL season, as now more and more injuries are starting to take shape. Some of the latest injury news, plus waiver claims and more, make up the latest edition of NFL news and notes.
McCaffrey Likely Out on Sunday
The return of Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey appears to be a short one. McCaffrey will likely miss this Sunday’s game versus the Buccaneers, according to head coach Matt Rhule.
“Looks like Christian probably won’t play,” Rhule said on Wednesday. “I wouldn’t say it’s 100 percent, but it looks like he’s pretty much out for this week, and we’ll see how it goes next week.”
McCaffrey, the fourth-year back out of Stanford, injured his shoulder during the fourth quarter of Carolina’s 33-31 loss to the Chiefs. It was the first time since September 20th he saw the field, as he had missed six games due to an ankle injury. He ended the game with 151 total yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.
According to multiple reports, McCaffrey will receive a second opinion on his shoulder before a timetable is given when he sees the field again. In the meantime, Mike Davis will presumably step in and fill the role as the starting running back once again.
Assuming CMC is out, Carolina is listed as a 5.5-point underdog against the Bucs at home.
Chubb Uncertain About Status
Continuing the theme of injured running backs, Browns back Nick Chubb isn’t sure whether he’ll be ready to play Sunday against the Texans.
“There is still a lot more to it than me just feeling good,” Chubb said on Wednesday when asked about his availability for Cleveland’s next game. “I have to go through doctors, team athletic trainers, and coaches. It is more than just me saying I feel great.”
Chubb, who hit nearly 1,500 yards rushing last season, sprained his MCL in Cleveland’s Week 4 win against the Cowboys. He has missed the last four games, with the Browns designating him to come off the injured reserve list on Monday. Before the injury, Chubb racked up 335 yards and four touchdowns.
While the status of Chubb is still up in the air, Cleveland can still turn to Kareem Hunt, who has taken over starting duties over the last several weeks. The Browns are 3.5-point favorites this Sunday against the visiting Texans.
McKinley Claimed by the Bengals
Former Falcons edge rusher Takk McKinley was claimed Wednesday by the Bengals, the team announced. They were eighth in the waiver order.
Atlanta decided to part ways with their 2017 first-round pick after the disgruntled McKinley took to social media to say that he had asked for a trade and that the Falcons turned down trade offers for him. Despite weighing their options once the deadline passed, interim head coach Raheem Morris ultimately decided to let him go.
The 25-year old McKinley is in his fourth season, having earned 17.5 career sacks. He will join a Bengals team with just 11 sacks on the season, with defensive end Carl Lawson leading the team with 3.5 sacks. McKinley has one sack this season in three games played, coming week one versus the Seahawks.
McKinley has a chance to make his debut this weekend when Cincinnati visits the first-place Steelers as a 6.5-point underdog in Pittsburgh. Atlanta, meanwhile, in on a bye week.
Smith Set to Start for Washington
In a feel-good story, if there ever was one, Washington quarterback Alex Smith is set to start this weekend on the road against the Lions. It will be his first start since November 18th, 2018, almost two years to the day he suffered an injury that nearly cost him his career and his life.
Two years ago, against the Texans, Smith suffered a spiral and compound fracture to his tibia and fibula in his right leg. From that point, the veteran underwent 17 surgeries, battled through and survived a life-threatening infection, and made a full recovery. Fast-forward to present day, and Smith has already appeared in two different games this season and is now ready to start.
“It’s an amazing feeling, and I love the challenge,” Smith said on Wednesday. “It’s been a long time, even just driving into work with the feeling of knowing that the ball’s in your hands.”
The former first overall pick, now 36-years old, threw for 325 yards and a touchdown last Sunday against the Giants, replacing the injured Kyle Allen. However, he did throw three interceptions in the contest. Dwayne Haskins, last year’s first-round pick for Washington, will serve as Smith’s backup.
Smith and the rest of the Washington Football Team is a 4.5-point underdog at Detroit.