The 49ers will likely get two massive reinforcements for the playoffs.
Running back Elijah Mitchell, who suffered two separate MCL sprains this season, made his return to practice on Wednesday after the team opened his return window from injured reserve.
He will have 21 days to be activated from the list. Barring a setback, it will not take that long.
Also in practice was Deebo Samuel, who, according to Kyle Shanahan, was a full go.
“We’re gonna go out here the next couple days in practice and see how it goes [to decide] whether I’m going to get in the game or not,” Samuel said.
There was still no concrete timeframe provided for Dre Greenlaw. Shanahan told reporters on Monday he hoped Greenlaw would be available for the season finale, but said the team was waiting on more tests. He deemed his injury a “back strain,” but it’s unclear if he’ll return this week.
Aaron Banks was all ruled out on Monday with an MCL sprain; his playoff timeline is similarly uncertain, but it appears to be a more serious injury than the one Greenlaw sustained.
After Shanahan provided the team with a rare, true off day on Monday, Wednesday’s practice went on as scheduled. That was despite a smattering of rain and 20-plus MPH winds as an atmospheric river slams the West Coast.
The following players were on the injury report.
Did not practice
- Jimmy Garoppolo (foot, ankle)
- Kevin Givens (knee)
- Christian McCaffrey (ankle, knee)
- Aaron Banks (ankle, knee)
- Javon Kinlaw (knee – expected rest)
- Dre Greenlaw (back strain)
- Nick Bosa, Trent Williams (rest)
- Arik Armstead (foot, ankle)
- CB Ambry Thomas (ankle)
While the 49ers won’t take any team lightly after last week’s near debacle against the Jarrett Stidham-led Raiders, it’s obvious the Arizona Cardinals will not be coming in at full strength.
Starting quarterback Kyler Murray is out for the season after undergoing successful surgery on a torn ACL and Colt McCoy is in concussion protocol. While the Cardinals initially went to Trace McSorley, they opted for David Blough at quarterback last week, and will reportedly do so again this week.
10 players did not practice for Arizona on Wednesday, including Deandre Hopkins, who has already been ruled out.
While the Cardinals don’t have anything to play for (they could, of course, improve their draft position, currently fourth overall, with a loss), the 49ers do.
A win and a Philadelphia Eagles loss would give the 49ers the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs. A win or loss and Vikings loss would ensure they keep the No. 2 seed. And a loss and Vikings win against the Justin Fields-less Bears would drop them back to the No. 3 seed.
The No. 1 seed seems unlikely unlikely given the 14-point spread favoring the Eagles against a Giants team that is expected to rest key starters.