49ers RB Elijah Mitchell (knee) expected to miss at least a few weeks

A season-opener on a sloppy field in Chicago cost the 49ers their starting running back. He likely won’t be back in time for Week 2.

Elijah Mitchell suffered a knee injury in San Francisco’s 19-10 loss to Chicago on Sunday and is expected to miss a few weeks or more, depending on the results of a Monday MRI, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source.

Mitchell had just six carries Sunday, gaining 41 yards before the knee injury forced him out of the game. He was quickly ruled out after initial examination and was seen wearing a brace on his knee after the game, though he did not require crutches, per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan.

San Francisco will wait for more information on just how long he might be sidelined.

Mitchell arrived in San Francisco as a sixth-round pick out of Louisiana in 2021 and proved himself as the 49ers’ top rusher, leading the team in rushing yards with 963 and five touchdowns. He entered 2022 as the lead back, but Sunday’s injury complicates matters for a 49ers team that turned to the likes of receiver Deebo Samuel, quarterback Trey Lance and backup Jeff Wilson to pick up 117 combined yards on the ground.

A similar approach should be expected during Mitchell’s absence. The going doesn’t get much easier for the 49ers in the weeks ahead, as they face the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams after hosting Seattle this weekend. San Francisco will hope Mitchell is back before long.

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