San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell is expected to miss approximately two months after suffering a sprained MCL in Sunday's 19-10 loss to the Chicago Bears, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport previously reported Mitchell was due to undergo an MRI that will reveal the full severity of the injury. At that point, he was expected to be sidelined for a "few weeks (or more)."
It's the second straight year the 49ers' starting running back has suffered a significant injury in the season opener, as Raheem Mostert was lost for the season in Week 1 of 2021. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Mitchell would undergo further testing Monday.
In his young NFL career, Mitchell is no stranger to injuries. The second-year running back missed six games as a rookie in 2021 because of multiple injuries: ribs, knee, finger, shoulder and a concussion. He still managed to set a franchise rookie record with 963 rushing yards while adding five touchdowns. He appeared poised for a big sophomore campaign, but a hamstring injury kept him out for the entire preseason.
When Mitchell went down against Chicago, Jeff Wilson Jr. was deployed as the lead back and rushed for 22 yards on nine carries. Wilson will maintain his role until Mitchell returns, with rookies Jordan Mason and Tyrion Davis-Price as his backups.
San Francisco's rushing attack is unique in that star receiver Deebo Samuel is a vital part of it, as he carried the ball eight times for 52 yards and a score against the Bears. Quarterback Trey Lance led the team with 13 rushes and 54 yards. The 49ers should not have too much trouble managing their run game while Mitchell is out.