The San Francisco 49ers opened up their week of practice on Wednesday just a day and a half removed from Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin's tragic medical emergency on "Monday Night Football." The 49ers organization has taken special care to address this event by having discussions in individual meetings and providing mental health resources for the players and their families. While Hamlin remains top of mind around the league, the 49ers will continue to push through the week as regularly as possible with the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals quickly approaching.
"You've got to do your job. I think everyone does, whatever that is," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "It's really rough. It's really sad, but you have to work too. That's what guys do, and you try to be there for each other. I really hurt for that team, specifically because of knowing how many guys must have such close relationships there, but you try to be there for everyone."
Wednesday marked the long awaited return of running back Elijah Mitchell. The sophomore back had this 21-day practice window opened and he returned to the field for the first time since suffering his second MCL sprain of the year against the New Orleans Saints. Mitchell was the 49ers leading rusher in 2021 (963 yards), and due to injuries, has only appeared in four games this season.
The 49ers enjoyed more positive news on the injury front. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel (ankle, knee) was a full participant after spending most of last week practicing in a limited capacity. This was Samuel's first full workout back since sustaining ankle and knee sprains in the team's Week 14 matchup versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While he may be practicing at full speed, the receiver's status for Week 18 is still up in the air.
"I'm not necessarily trying to push (to play in Week 18)," Samuel said. "If I'm not 100 percent ready to go, I'm not going to go out there."
Eight players sat out from practice on Wednesday including: OL Aaron Banks (ankle, knee), DL Nick Bosa (not injury related - resting player), QB Jimmy Garoppolo (foot), DL Kevin Givens (knee), LB Dre Greenlaw (back), DT Javon Kinlaw (knee), RB Christian McCaffrey (ankle, knee) and T Trent Williams (not injury related - resting player).