Christian McCaffrey (ankle) practices fully, expected to play vs. Saints

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The Carolina Panthers are getting healthier. Star running back Christian McCaffrey was listed as a limited participant on Thursday’s injury report while nursing an ankle issue, but he returned to practice fully on Friday and is expected to lead the charge in their Week 3 game with the New Orleans Saints.

McCaffrey, 26, has struggled with injuries in recent years — he’s played a total of 12 of Carolina’s last 35 games, including both of their matchups this year. Still, he’s had some success against the Saints in the past, averaging 99.1 yards from scrimmage in seven career games. Most of his damage has been done through the air, catching 44 passes for 429 receiving yards, and he’s scored five total touchdowns (3 as a runner, 2 as a receiver). He’ll be looking to improve his career average of 3.15 yards per carry in games with New Orleans.

But he’s got his work cut out for him against Saints linebacker Pete Werner, a breakout of their 2022 season. Werner has been sensational both against the run and the pass, allowing just 56 yards in coverage through the first two weeks this year per Pro Football Focus. There aren’t many running backs more valuable on passing downs than McCaffrey around the NFL, but practicing against Alvin Kamara every day is a great way to prepare for that matchup. We’ll be keeping a close eye on Werner’s battles with the former All-Pro on Sunday.

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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire