By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers coach Matt Rhule said the team has decided not to place running back Christian McCaffrey on injured reserve while he recovers from a strained hamstring. Had McCaffrey been placed on IR he would have missed at least three games. However, by keeping him on the 53-man roster there is a chance he could return sooner. Rhule said “we feel like there is hope that he will be back before then.” Rookie Chuba Hubbard and veteran Royce Freeman are expected to carry the load while McCaffrey is out. That Panthers visit the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.