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Carolina Panthers activate three players not named Christian McCaffrey to 53-man roster for tonight’s game

The Panthers are holding their star running back out one more week before activating him from injured reserve.

The Panthers have activated guard Mike Horton, defensive back Natrell Jamerson and wide receiver Marken Michel to the 53-man roster for tonight’s game as COVID-19 replacement players in place of cornerback Rasul Douglas and offensive linemen Michael Schofield and Tyler Larsen — who remain on the COVID list — according to a report from Joe Person at The Athletic.

In other news, Christian McCaffrey will not be activated from the designated to return list so he will not play tonight against the Falcons.

I’m intentionally burying the lede here because we all knew there was practically no chance the Panthers were going to rush McCaffrey back too soon (no pun intended) for a Thursday Night Football game against a 1-6 team (even if that team is a division rival) when they have a game in 10 days against a much tougher opponent.

I’d imagine the bad weather that’s expected to wreak havoc on the game tonight went into the decision as well, but I honestly don’t think there was any way McCaffrey was going to be activated before the 4 p.m. ET deadline today. It just didn’t make sense to bring him back so soon, and I’m glad we finally have a coaching/medical staff who understands that rushing players back too early is a bad idea.

The Panthers will have 10 days before their next game (Nov. 8 at Kansas City) to bring McCaffrey back, and I’m pretty sure he’ll be activated before then, so stay tuned.