49ers on Monday: Emmanuel Moseley out with ankle sprain, Elijah Mitchell in concussion protocol

49ers on Monday: Emmanuel Moseley out with ankle sprain, Elijah Mitchell in concussion protocol

The 49ers are clinging to the seventh and final NFC playoff spot, and doing so with potentially serious issues at cornerback and running back heading into their Week 14 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, who left in the first half of a 30-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain and will miss “several weeks” according to coach Kyle Shanahan.

At running back, Elijah Mitchell, who was tested for a concussion during the game but cleared to return by an independent physician, showed up Monday with symptoms and is now in concussion protocol

Also in the protocol is running back Trenton Cannon, who was discharged from the hospital after taking a blow to the head after the opening kickoff and spent the night in a Seattle hospital. Shanahan said Cannon had been released and was flying home Monday.

Both areas are paper-thin with the 49ers (6-6) taking to the road against a Cincinnati team that remains in the AFC playoff chase at 7-5.

The Bengals have second-year quarterback Joe Burrow and one of the NFL’s most productive receiving trios in wideouts J’Marr Chase (55 receptions, 958 yards, eight touchdowns), Tee Higgins (52 receptions, 628 yards, four touchdowns) and Tyler Boyd (51 receptions, 556 yards, two touchdowns).

Moseley, the starter along with veteran Josh Norman, was the 49ers top cover corner by a considerable margin. Norman, 33, has excelled in ball stripping but has struggled in coverage. When Moseley departed against Seattle, rookie Deommodore Lenoir came in and was immediately targeted by Seattle to the point where he was replaced at halftime by veterean Dontae Johnson.

Lenoir, as well as fellow rookie Ambry Thomas, will be in the mix to play outside as well with K’Waun Williams as the nickel corner.

“We’ll see how the week plays out,” Shanahan said during a conference call with local media. “We’re obviously struggling in that area, and losing E-man doesn’t make it any easier. We’re going to have the young guys compete, and hopefully they can get more and more ready.”

Shanahan said Thomas, who was a pandemic opt-out during his final year at Michigan, has played better of late after a slow start in training camp and has pulled even with Lenoir. Thomas had three special teams tackles against Seattle, one of the few positives for a unit that had a poor game.

“Hopefully those two can up their game and push Dontae and Norman a little bit,” Shanahan said. “Those are the guys we’ve got.”

Mitchell became the second 49ers player in two weeks to be evaluated for a head injury during the game and then go back in after being cleared. He carried 22 times for 66 yards. Last week it was safety Marcell Harris, who came back in against the Vikings then had symptoms on Monday. Harris went through the protocol during the week but wasn’t cleared to play against Seattle.

“The evaluation is the same one the whole league does,” Shanahan said. “That’s stuff that happens all over. If you come in the next day with a headache, you automatically go into the protocol. There are lots of things that go into that. I listen to what they say. The league has rules that everybody goes by.”

The hope is Mitchell will be cleared to play. Trey Sermon, the rookie third-round draft pick from Ohio State, was out with an ankle injury against Seattle and isn’t expected to be ready. Jeff Wilson Jr, whose knee has troubled him on and off since coming back from surgery and missing the first eight weeks, had issues against Seattle. JaMycal Hasty (ankle) returned against Seattle to play on special teams but didn’t carry the ball.

Wilson appeared to pull up on the 73-yard fake punt play where Travis Homer scored Seattle’s first touchdown, and again later on a running play that was called back for holding.

Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (4) will be out several weeks with a high ankle sprain after being injured Sunday in Seattle.

“When it flares up on him, which has happened before, it bothers him for a couple of days,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan said he expected the 49ers to be working out free agent running backs Tuesday.

The status of wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) and middle linebacker Fred Warner (hamstring) will be determined this week.

“Fred was closer than Deebo was Sunday so I expect to get Fred back at practice Wednesday,” Shanahan said. “Deebo, we’ll go day to day with him, I’m hoping to get him back this week but it’s still too early to tell.”

Special teams issues

Shanahan said the 49ers were simply caught flat-footed by a good Seattle call on the fake punt that opened the scoring and breathed life into a Seahawks team that came in with a 3-8 record.

“They got us on it,  made a good play call. A risky one, backed up like that, but it was a good one,” Shanahan said. “There’s not anything the players could have done differently on it. I’d have liked to have seen (Brandon) Aiyuk make the tackle so it’s not a touchdown so we could live another day. But they got us and it’s something we’re going to have to look at in terms of our tendencies.”

The 49ers also had a lost fumble from Travis Benjamin and a missed conversion attempt by place kicker Robbie Gould. Last week, against Minnesota, the Vikings had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

“Two weeks in a row they’ve given up some bad plays,” Shanahan said. “Last week the team played good enough around it to overcome it . . . we’re trying to work on it.”

Etcetera

— Shanahan said if the 49ers had scored a touchdown on the fourth-down Jimmy Garoppolo pass which was batted down by Carlos Dunlap II, his immediate thought was to go for two points and the win rather than attempt an extra point and force overtime.

“I was planning on going for two,” Shanahan said. “That’s how I felt. But we’d have to see how I felt after that down, too.”

Pressed on his thinking, Shanahan backpedaled a bit.

“It’s too much of a hypothetical,” Shanahan said. “I can’t even promise you I would of (gone for two). I don’t mind talking about it but I’d just be making stuff up.”

— Shanahan said there was no thought given to inserting Trey Lance either on a fourth-and-1 zone read run that was erased on a penalty by center Alex Mack or with the 49ers down at the goal line at the end of the game.

— The 49ers signed wide receiver Austin Mack and linebacker Curtis Robinson to the team’s practice squad and released wide receiver Devin Funchess and linebacker Justin March.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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