The San Francisco 49ers running backs room was dealt a major blow on Sunday after Elijah Mitchell exited the season opener with a knee injury in the first half. After undergoing testing on the knee, Mitchell has been diagnosed with a sprained MCL and is expected to miss around two months of action, per Adam Schefter.
49ers’ RB Elijah Mitchell is expected to be sidelined about two months with the sprained MCL that he suffered Sunday at Chicago, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 12, 2022
Mitchell had rushed the ball six times for 41 yards prior to seeing his afternoon cut short by the knee injury. The 49ers were hoping that he'd only need a brief period of time on the sideline, but an MRI indicated that his MCL was sprained, which gives him roughly a two-month timetable.
While Mitchell could be back in the fold by mid-season, it's still a crucial loss for the 49ers. Mitchell had impressed in the second half of last season and locked down the starting job in 2022, but his injury will open the job up to the rest of the running backs on the roster.
Behind Mitchell on the depth chart are Jeff Wilson, undrafted rookie Jordan Mason, and 2022 third-round pick Tyrion Davis-Price. They all figure to see an increase in touches with Mitchell sidelined, and star wide receiver hybrid Deebo Samuel could also find himself more involved in the running game.
The 49ers suffered a disappointing loss in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears, in what were some bizarre playing conditions, due to the weather which left Soldier Field in complete disarray. There were some positives to takeaway, but it was ultimately a disappointing night in Trey Lance's debut as the starter. The biggest blow, however, was Elijah Mitchell's knee injury, which figures to sideline him until November at the earliest.