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The 49ers suffered more injuries to their backfield in Sunday’s 17-11 win over the Eagles, with all three active running backs leaving the game.
Presumed starter Raheem Mostert suffered a season-ending knee injury last week, which left the load to Elijah Mitchell, JaMycal Hasty and Trey Sermon. Then there was Mitchell’s shoulder, followed by Hasty’s ankle and concluding with a Sermon concussion. A steady stream of injuries for a team that has already suffered the most injuries in the NFL last season.
Perhaps the only good news is that Mitchell eventually returned to the game in the fourth quarter. The 2021 6th round pick has been productive through two games with 146 yards on 4.1 yards per carry. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game that the injury should not affect his status next week.
“He said he was good enough to come back in, so that’s when you think it’s a stinger, but until you have time to go and get an MRI and stuff like that, you never know,” Shanahan said. “But we’re hoping it was just a stinger. You usually feel good about it the way he was talking and the way he was able to come back in the game.”
The injuries to so many Niner running backs is concerning and nothing new in recent history. Jerick McKinnon was signed in 2018 and immediately tore his ACL and then suffered a setback in 2019 and did not play a down in either season. Mostert was also injured often in 2020, appearing in just eight games.
Now San Francisco finds itself in a precarious position with only one healthy(ish) running back on the active roster. It’s almost a guarantee that a veteran will find its way into the mix this week, with several options available. Outside Kerryon Johnson, who is on the practice squad, notable options include Todd Gurley, T.J. Yeldon and Frank Gore.
Sign me up for a Gore/49ers reunion, as Gore is arguably the most durable running back in the history of the NFL.