Coming off of his career-performance against the Chicago Bears in Week 8, rookie running back Elijah Mitchell is expected to be limited at practice this week. Mitchell is coming off a career-high 137-yard, one-touchdown performance that earned him his first-ever FedEx Ground Player of the Week nomination.
After the game, the running back was said to be dealing with a rib injury which, as of now, shouldn't affect his availability in Week 9.
Jimmie Ward left Sunday's game in the fourth quarter with a quad injury that appeared as a "pretty big concern" for head coach Kyle Shanahan postgame. The 49ers learned some encouraging news on Monday as the veteran safety is expected to miss 1-2 weeks and has an "outside" chance to play this week against the Arizona Cardinals.
Safety Kai Nacua left the game with a hamstring injury and is expected to miss "a few weeks," per Shanahan. With Nacua and Ward likely out heading into Sunday's divisional match, rookie Talanoa Hufanga and veterans Tavon Wilson and Tony Jefferson II (practice squad) are the lone healthy safeties on the 49ers roster with Jaquiski Tartt already on Injured Reserve.
San Francisco could see the return of several players heading into Week 9. Shanahan said he is "optimistic" that edge rusher Dee Ford (concussion) and linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (concussion) can return to action this week. Per the head coach, both players were close enough in their return-to-play protocol that the decision went until Saturday before officially ruling the two out against the Bears.
The 49ers expect to open the practice windows for George Kittle (calf), Robbie Gould (groin) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (knee). Both Kittle and Gould have spent the league-minimum of three games on Injured Reserve and have an opportunity to return to the field in Week 9. Wilson Jr. opened the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list and has been eligible to return following the first six weeks of the season. The 49ers are likely to take a cautious approach in Wilson Jr.'s return, as the running back hasn't played football since suffering a meniscus tear back in May.
"It will be his first time playing football in a long time. So, I don't know if he'll be ready to go this week. But at least we know he's coming back soon," Shanahan said of Wilson Jr.
As for Dre Greenlaw, who underwent groin surgery following the season opener, the 49ers are "hoping" they can get the linebacker involved by Wednesday, but he will have to pass additional testing before the team can do so.