The 49ers announced they placed running back Elijah Mitchell on the injured reserve list Saturday afternoon. Mitchell will miss anywhere from six to eight weeks with a tear to his MCL in his left knee. However, this doesn’t mean Mitchell’s season is over. His timetable to return lands right when the playoffs begin on January 14. That would be the seventh week of Mitchell’s injury.
The Niners have used six of their eight injured reserve returns—Mitchell and Javon Kinlaw are the likely final two spots the team will use.
That was the only move the team announced, which means running back Tevin Coleman was not elevated from the practice squad. So, Christian McCaffrey, who battled irritation in his knee earlier in the week but wasn’t listed on the final injury report, will start, while rookies Jordan Mason and Ty Davis-Price will round out the rest of the running backs.
Whether Mitchell was healthy or not, the 49ers were going to rely on a youngster in the backfield. It would’ve been difficult to see the team giving McCaffrey 20+ touches a game and running him into a brick wall to close out games.
Seeing Mason get more and more reps and gain confidence during the final month or so of the season is something to look forward to.