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Shanahan on Mitchell’s status: Not looking real likely, but holding out hope

The 49ers head coach said newly signed Brian Hill will help if Mitchell cannot play

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan joined KNBR Thursday afternoon and provided an injury update for some critical players ahead of Sunday’s matchup against the Bengals. Here’s a look at Thursday’s injury report:

Did not practice:

Trenton Cannon (concussion)

Dre Greenlaw (groin)

Maurice Hurst (calf)

Elijah Mitchell (concussion, knee)

Emmanuel Moseley (ankle)

Deebo Samuel (groin)

Full participant:

Nick Bosa (rest)

Alex Mack (rest)

Trent Williams (rest)

Marcell Harris (concussion)

Fred Warner (hamstring)

Jeff Wilson Jr. (knee)

Mitchell not practicing on a Thursday isn’t a good sign. However, it’s evident that he’s a difference-maker when he’s on the field. Mitchell averaged 84 rushing yards per game, which is fifth in the NFL. However, this would be the fourth game this season he’s missed.

On KNBR, Shanahan said, “not looking real likely, but holding out hope,” when discussing Mitchell’s status for Sunday. JaMychal Hasty is “healthy,” and Brian Hill “should be able to get up and help us if needed.”

Wilson Jr. has a physical style of running but lacks the same type of burst as Mitchell. Against Jacksonville, Wilson Jr. and Trey Sermon left yards on the field. The running game was not the same without Mitchell.

One way to offset the loss of Mitchell is having Samuel available. Shanahan, on Deebo:

“I think we’ll have a good idea, hopefully after tomorrow. He’s doing all the stuff on the side, looking good so far. Hopefully can get into practice tomorrow. But yeah, won’t know until tomorrow at the earliest.”

A Niners offense without Mitchell and Samuel on the field is a Niners offense without a lot of horsepower in two players. We’re talking about two players who make up a good chunk of the 49ers' offensive production this season.

Shanahan finished with some thoughts about Trey Lance: “I haven’t changed with how we’d like to develop him. Doing [Lance packages] had nothing to do with how we’d like to develop him. That stuff I believed would help us. I don’t enjoy it as much as I thought it would, and that has nothing to with Trey. Being down at RB, it doesn’t ever enter my mind to play our 2nd QB.”

Shanahan keeps getting asked about his rookie quarterback for whatever reason. If it hasn’t happened by now, it’s unlikely Lance plays with five games remaining in the season.

It’s far more likely we see a player like Ambry Thomas inserted into the lineup as a starter the first time before Lance. DeMeco Ryans never gives us much during his media availability.

When asked what it would take for Thomas or Deommodore Lenoir to push for a starting job, Ryans said, “all of them are practicing really well. All had a good practice. Came out intent and deliberate in practice. Each of us have a job to do. They have to be accountable, and teammates can count on them to do their job at a high level.”

It’s fair to want a rookie to be accountable. Based on the way the veteran cornerbacks have played, we could describe them with plenty of words, but accountable wouldn’t be one.