It seems that Elijah Mitchell may have been pushed to his limit. The rookie running back has been a clear bright spot in the 49ers’ season and carried most of the load in the backfield while dealing with seemingly new injuries every other week.
He had an adductor injury in training camp, a shoulder injury, a rib injury, finger fracture, and now a concussion and knee injury.
In just nine games this season, Mitchell has run for 765 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. But he’s set to miss his second-straight game for the first time since missing Weeks 3 and 4 with the rib injury.
Kyle Shanahan said Friday that Mitchell is close to clearing the concussion protocol, but that his knee has continued to bother him. He did not practice this week. He said he’s “not optimistic” he’ll play on Thursday against the Titans, but hopes he can.
“It’s just the pain tolerance with the knee,” Shanahan said. “We thought it would go down faster and it hasn’t as quickly as we thought it would.”
Mitchell is among two players out on Sunday. Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, who did not practice this week, is listed as doubtful. Shanahan said he still has some swelling in his elbow, but hasn’t been ruled out officially because of how valuable he’s been to the 49ers this season.
Below is the full list of game statuses:
- Dre Greenlaw (groin)
- Elijah Mitchell (concussion, knee)
- Maurice Hurst (calf)
- Azeez Al-Shaair (elbow)
- D.J. Jones (knee)
- Jaquiski Tartt (glute)
- Ambry Thomas (concussion)
D.J. Jones practice for the first time this week on Friday in limited fashion after sitting out the first two practices of the week, while Jaquiski Tartt was limited each day. Ambry Thomas was no longer in a blue non-contact jersey in Friday’s practice after donning one on Wednesday and Thursday.
As for Dontae Johnson, Shanahan indicated that a Friday practice is enough for the 49ers to feel confident in him to start on Sunday after he missed the last week following the death of his mother. He said he’ll still continue talking with Johnson throughout the weekend to make sure he’s alright to play.
The Falcons, meanwhile, have an abbreviated injury report, with just one player out and one listed as questionable:
- S Erik Harris (chest)
- LB Dante Fowler
The upshot of this news is that Fred Warner, who was limited this week with an ankle injury, and George Kittle, who has had knee soreness, practice in full on Friday and enter Sunday’s game unlikely to be limited.