The San Francisco 49ers will be without running back Elijah Mitchell once again, as he reportedly suffered a similar injury that caused him to miss eight weeks earlier this season.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan said Mitchell will miss the next six to eight weeks due to an MCL sprain that forced him to exit Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints in the third quarter. Mitchell suffered an MCL sprain in his right knee in Week 1, but this time the injury was to his left knee.
The first injury forced Mitchell to be sidelined until Week 10, when he returned and registered season highs of 18 carries and 89 yards in a win over the Los Angeles Chargers. In four appearances this season, the 24-year-old has recorded 224 yards on 40 carries with no touchdowns.
With Mitchell out, Christian McCaffrey will get the lion's share of the carries for San Francisco going forward. However, head coach Kyle Shanahan said after Sunday's 13-0 win over New Orleans that McCaffrey was slowed by "knee irritation" after he finished with 11 rushes for 32 yards.
Rookie running back Jordan Mason saw more action on Sunday after Mitchell exited the game, posting 25 yards on five carries. He will likely have an increased role along with fellow rookie Tyrion Davis-Price, who was a healthy scratch against the Saints. The two of them can be expected to split the backup duties behind McCaffrey.
The 49ers (7-4) have won four straight games to move into first place in the NFC West. San Francisco has used its stonewall defense to stifle opponents, giving up under 20 points in each one of its last four wins.
In Week 13, the 49ers will try to keep their streak alive when the Miami Dolphins (8-3) visit the Bay Area on Sunday afternoon.