NFL teams
David Newton, ESPN Staff Writer 30d

Carolina Panthers star Christian McCaffrey expects to be fine for Thursday's game at Houston

NFL, Carolina Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey missed a series in the third quarter of Sunday's win over New Orleans to get IVs for "onset cramps,'' but returned to score a touchdown and the team doesn't have any concerns heading into Thursday night's game at Houston.

McCaffrey, who leads the NFL with 324 yards from scrimmage, doesn't know what caused the cramps.

"Just one of those things you've got to prevent every week,'' McCaffrey said on Monday, when asked if the cramps had anything to do with missing 13 games to injury last season. "I've got to do a better job of taking care of it during the week.''

That means doubling up on treatments, such as alternating from the hot tub to the cold tub, and to cram seven days of preparation into four.

McCaffrey began that process on Sunday immediately after the 26-7 win that improved Carolina to 2-0 for the first time since the running back's rookie season in 2017.

McCaffrey is a big reason for the fast start. He ranks sixth in the NFL in rushing with 170 yards on 45 carries and 10th in receptions with 14 for 154 yards.

His 324 yards from scrimmage are 10 more than what running back Derrick Henry has for Tennessee.

McCaffrey, who in 2019 became the third player in NFL history to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season, is on pace for 2,754 total yards over 17 games.

Former Titans running back Chris Johnson set the NFL record (2,509) in 2009 during a 16-game schedule. Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk is second with 2,429 yards in 1999 followed by McCaffrey with 2,392 in 2019.

McCaffrey's focus is on winning. He had been a part of 11 straight losses as the starter before this season.

"The energy is great in the locker room,'' McCaffrey said. "We also have a very mature team. I know we're young, but we're mature. We're definitely not comfortable.

"It takes a lot to get where we want to be. We're definitely not where we want to be yet.''

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