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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Jeff Wilson ready to fill in for Elijah Mitchell, if needed, says John Lynch

Nov 19, 2021 at 8:47 AM--

No one is really sure exactly when Elijah Mitchell fractured his finger on Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams, but the San Francisco 49ers running back played through it. Then he had surgery to repair the break on Tuesday. He hasn't practiced yet this week, but his potential availability for this weekend's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars hasn't been eliminated.

Mitchell is a tough player. He played through rib injuries earlier this season. He endured a shoulder injury before that. Could Mitchell be ready for Sunday?

"We will see," 49ers general manager John Lynch said on KNBR's Murph & Mac show. "I think the challenge is he had a type of break that [created] some encouragement that he would be able to function with it. But you never know until you do that. And then the surgery might be a little different than what we anticipated.

"So, he got out, and you not only have to be able to play, and believe me, what Elijah has gone through in his rookie year, and playing as well as he has with ribs, both -- he's had two different issues, run-ins with rib problems, which are so painful. So, pain tolerance is not an issue with him. He's also got to be able to function, and carrying the football is very important.

"So, we will see. I think that's something that you take all the way [to game time]. He's earned that right, even as a rookie, to take it all the way down to game time. We've got to get on a long flight. Sometimes things react, things can swell. I think our medical team is going to do a real nice job of being aware of all that, and really, [the] effort to have him ready on Sunday. But I honestly don't know the answer to that because a lot of it is just going to come down to: Can he go and function at a level we need, and he needs?"

If Mitchell can't go against the Jaguars, that could mean Jeff Wilson Jr. is called upon to carry the load in the run game. He was in for 22 offensive snaps against the Rams after being activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list on November 6.

Is Wilson physically prepared to be the featured running back after his knee injury this offseason?

"I think he is because Jeff did a really nice job [against the Rams]," Lynch answered. "... Everyone gets fired up when he's out there because he plays with such a physicality. Kyle talks about no hesitation. That's kind of Jeff Wilson. He's had some big moments for this team. He's one of the most well-liked players on this team.

"And he was so [champing] at the bit to get back out. There was just a time level with that injury he had, the cartilage repair in his knee, to where they had to keep him out. But he could work to the side, so he really did a great job of ramping himself up on the side.

"It's always different when you go play, but he had like three weeks where he was basically replicating practice to the side. And so, I think he has -- we call it ramping up -- he was ramped up pretty well. So I think Jeff's ready. His mind is certainly ready."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.

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