Matt Rhule: Christian McCaffrey will return when he’s 100 percent

Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey won’t play in Thursday Night Football, but it sounds like he could have.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule said the team wants to make sure McCaffrey’s ankle is fully healed before returning him to game action.

“He could probably come back early, but he would not be the same player he always is,” Rhule told Will Kunkel of FOX 46. “So we are making sure he is 100 percent – not 99 percent, 100 percent — and if you know Christian, he’s fighting, scratching, clawing to play. . . . We don’t want to put him out there too early, but when he comes out there, whenever it is, I know he’s going to be something special to watch.”

McCaffrey took part in two practices this week, perhaps laying groundwork for more work next week in advance of a return to the lineup against the Chiefs on Nov. 8. He has not played since his injury in Week 2.

McCaffrey has 48 touches for 223 yards and four touchdowns.