CHICAGO — For the second consecutive year, the San Francisco 49ers‘ starting running back departed the season opener with a knee injury.
After the loss, San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan wasn’t yet sure the extent of Mitchell’s injury, though more tests await Mitchell on Monday.
“I know they thought he had a chance to come back and they ruled him out later,” Shanahan said. “So, I’m not sure yet.”
It wasn’t immediately clear how Mitchell got hurt, though his last snap before the injury was receiver Deebo Samuel‘s 6-yard touchdown run with 10:11 left in the first half. Mitchell was blocking on the outside for Samuel on the play and it appeared a Bears defender rolled into the back of his legs.
Mitchell had six carries for 41 yards before exiting. Entering his second NFL season, Mitchell has dealt with myriad injuries, including a hamstring injury that kept him out of the preseason. In 2021, he set a franchise rookie rushing record with 963 yards, adding five touchdowns despite missing six games with multiple injuries (ribs, knee, finger, shoulder and concussion).
With Mitchell out, Jeff Wilson Jr. stepped into the primary running back role with rookie Jordan Mason as the backup. Wilson finished with nine carries for 22 yards and Samuel also carried eight times for 52 yards, though it was quarterback Trey Lance who led the Niners in rush attempts (13) and yards (54).
Tyrion Davis-Price, a third-round pick out of LSU, was a pregame inactive but is also on the 53-man roster.
Mitchell’s injury comes almost a year to the day after Niners starting running back Raheem Mostert left the 2021 season opener against the Detroit Lions with a knee injury of his own. Mostert missed the rest of the season before signing with the Miami Dolphins in the offseason.