The San Francisco 49ers could have their best players by the end of the regular season with receiver Deebo Samuel and running back Elijah Mitchell set to return from injuries.
Coach Kyle Shanahan reported Friday that Deebo Samuel will have no injury designation and is cleared to play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals for the first time since he left with knee and ankle injuries during their Week 14 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Kyle Shanahan noted that Elijah Mitchell will be off injured reserve on Saturday, returning from a sprained left knee that has sidelined him since Nov. 27.
Running back Christian McCaffrey also has no injury designation after missing practice Wednesday and Thursday with ankle and knee injuries.
That should give the 49ers (12-4) a big boost heading into Sunday’s key game against the Cardinals. San Francisco can clinch the number two seed with a win or a loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and has a chance to be the top seed and a first-round bye with a win and a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Deebo Samuel has 54 receptions for 612 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 228 rushing yards and three TD carries this season.
Samuel made a big impact in last year’s playoffs with 294 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns to help the Niners reach the NFC title game.
He’s not the only major offensive playmaker close to returning for the Niners heading into the playoffs.
Elijah Mitchell returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since going on injured reserve with a left knee injury. Mitchell also hurt his right knee in the opener and has only played four games this season.
The team is expected to use the last of its eight picks to return from the disabled list and get Mitchell back either this week or for the playoffs.
Mitchell led the 49ers in rushing as a rookie with 963 yards in 2021. He has 40 carries for 224 yards in four games this season. Mitchell has had two stints on injured reserve with knee injuries.
In other injury news, Kyle Shanahan announced that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has regained some strength in his left foot and could be available to return late in the playoffs if the Niners advance.