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49ers Make Decision On RB Elijah Mitchell For Thursday

Elijah Mitchell runs with the football.

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 12: Elijah Mitchell #25 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes for a 38-yard touchdown during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 12, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 41-33. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL heading into Week 16, thanks in large part to a dynamic running game. However, Kyle Shanhan will still be without one of his top ballcarriers for a Thursday game against the Tennessee Titans.

49ers ruled out RB Elijah Mitchell (knee) for Thursday night’s game in Tennessee.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 22, 2021

">According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Niners ruled out rookie running back Elijah Mitchell from the Thursday night contest with a knee injury. The 23-year-old breakout was hoping to make his return against the Titans, but it looks like the short week will prevent him from doing so. Mitchell will miss his third straight game with a banged-up knee and a concussion. Although it sounds like the latter is behind him, the other injury is still giving him problems.

Mitchell has been a revelation for the 49ers, who picked him out of Louisiana in the sixth round of this year's draft. When he's been on the field for nine games this season, he's rushed for 759 yards and five touchdowns, making him one of the best offensive rookies in his class.

Unfortunately, Mitchell has missed a number of starts due to injuries this season. In addition to this recent stretch of absences, the rookie couldn't play in two games earlier this year.

With Mitchell out, the 49ers will have to turn elsewhere for a spark in the run game. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel has been a playmaker out of the backfield in recent weeks and should form a strong tandem with fourth-year man Jeff Wilson Jr.

In last week's 31-13 win over the Falcons, Wilson rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown, while Samuel racked up 89 total yards and a score.

Whatever Shanahan decides to do against Tennessee, he'll have to finalize his plans soon. 49ers-Titans will get underway Thursday night at 8:20 p.m. ET.