Kyle’s update, 1:02 p.m. PT: Christian McCaffrey is not listed on the injury report, which is great news. Elijah Mitchell was a limited participant in what turned out to be a walk-through practice. He’s officially questionable:
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (foot)
RB Elijah Mitchell (groin)
CB Ambry Thomas (ankle)
49ers running back Christian McCaffrey practiced for the first time this week Friday. McCaffrey has been nursing a calf injury.
Dr. Deepak Chona, a Stanford, Harvard, and Penn-trained sports surgeon, tweeted that calf contusions usually don’t cause performance dips or decreased workloads. Here’s Chona appearing on a podcast with an extensive explanation:
“Listed as questionable with a calf injury. They’re calling it a contusion, which actually overall, is relatively good news. This is the type of injury that does cause some pain. But it isn’t commonly reaggravated in practice or games.
That, plus the fact that McCaffrey was already able to play through it during the last game suggests that overall we won’t notice a huge difference in his play on Sunday.”
Chona‘s analysis of McCafrey’s injury should serve as a sigh of relief.
Unfortunately, Elijah Mitchell was not on hand during the media portion of practice. Mitchell suffered a groin injury that’s kept him from practicing all week. According to the beat writers present, Tevin Coleman was warming up after McCaffrey.
That would suggest Kyle Shanahan will lean on a veteran in the NFC Championship over the likes of Jordan Mason and Ty Davis-Price. You don’t tip your hand when Coleman is in the game the same way you would with the rookies.
Coleman is the superior pass protector between the three and has experience. But it’s doubtful Shanahan would admit to Coleman being the more valuable ball carrier.
If Coleman gets the nod, it could also signal the 49ers are leaning toward more of a shotgun passing offense, which has been a major strength under Brock Purdy and an area where the Eagles have struggled.
Shanahan is set to speak around roughly 1 p.m. PT. We’ll provide the injury report once it’s released.