49ers lose top running back Elijah Mitchell in opener

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers lost more than a game in a sloppy season-opener at Chicago.

The Niners lost starting running back Elijah Mitchell to a knee injury in the 19-10 loss to the Bears on Sunday. Mitchell is expected to be sidelined for about two months.

“He was pretty down,” coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday. “For obvious reasons were down for him. Elijah went through a lot last year. It’s well documented, the injuries he had. He really worked hard this offseason. He was feeling really good going into that game. I thought he looked really good before he got hurt.”

This marks the second straight season when the 49ers lost their top running back to a knee injury in the season opener. Raheem Mostert went down with a season-ending injury in Week 1 last year, leading to Mitchell becoming the main back as a rookie when he became the fifth different player to lead San Francisco in rushing in five years under Shanahan.

Mitchell had 963 yards rushing at an average of 4.7 yards per carry last year, despite dealing with a series of injuries. He was excited to be healthy going into this season but only lasted one game.

Jeff Wilson Jr., the 2020 rushing leader, figures to get a heavy load with Mitchell out. Rookie Tyrion Davis-Price, a healthy scratch on Sunday, should also be in the mix, along with undrafted rookie Jordan Mason.

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