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#pounditThursday, February 2, 2023

49ers get rough injury news on starting RB

Elijah Mitchell in a helmet

Jan 2, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Eli Mitchell (25) during warm ups against the Houston Texans at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

It took all of one week for the wheels to start falling off in San Francisco.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Monday that 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell is expected to be out roughly two months after spraining his MCL in the team’s Week 1 loss to the Chicago Bears. Mitchell exited with the injury in the first half and was quickly ruled out for the rest of the game.

Mitchell, 24, won the starting job for the 49ers last season, rushing for 963 yards and five touchdowns. But he has had a very hard time staying healthy, missing six games with injury in 2021 and sitting out this past preseason with a hamstring issue.

While Kyle Shanahan backfields are infamously unpredictable, Jeff Wilson Jr. figures to be the new starter in the backfield with rookie Tyrion Davis-Price (the Niners’ third-round draft pick this year) getting some chances as well. Jack-of-all-trades Deebo Samuel is also likely to receive more touches on the ground. The 49ers released running backs JaMycal Hasty and Trey Sermon just a couple of weeks ago, while Raheem Mostert left to sign with the Miami Dolphins in March.

On top of San Francisco’s opening week loss to Chicago, quarterback Trey Lance hasn’t looked great either. With their starting running back Mitchell now possibly out until around Thanksgiving (the 49ers have a bye in Week 9), it could get ugly in a hurry in the Bay.

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