It sounds like it’s more than a minor injury for Elijah Mitchell.
The 49ers running back is expected to miss two months according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Mitchell’s MRI on Monday revealed he sustained a sprained MCL in his knee. It is believed he injured the knee while blocking during Deebo Samuel’s touchdown in the second quarter of Sunday’s game, when a Bears defender rolled into the back of his legs.
Losing Mitchell is the latest blow for the 49ers who are already without tight end George Kittle and are coming off a season-opening loss to a seemingly less talented Bears team. Mitchell’s exit from Week 1 in the first half also coincided with San Francisco’s running game stalling significantly. Mitchell gained 41 yards on six rushes, good for a 6.8 per yard average.
Up next on the depth chart is Jeff Wilson Jr. who despite having quite a bit of experience did not look great in Chicago. Wilson averaged just 2.4 yards per rush on nine carries.
It will likely also lead to an elevated workload for Deebo Samuel (eight rushes for 52 yards), who was excellent as a runner on Sunday and scored the 49ers’ only touchdown.
In 2021, Mitchell set a franchise rookie rushing record with 963 yards, adding five touchdowns, despite missing six games with multiple injuries (ribs, knee, finger, shoulder and concussion).