PHILADELPHIA — Christian McCaffrey is a go, but his understudy, Elijah Mitchell, is a no.
Mitchell was inactivated before the NFC Championship Game after a groin injury last game kept him from practicing all week.
McCaffrey missed the 49ers’ first two practices last week because of a right-calf bruise from last Sunday’s 19-12 win over the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers are 12-0 since McCaffrey entered their starting lineup, after acquiring him in an Oct. 20 trade from the Carolina Panthers.
That acquisition proved extremely valuable considering Mitchell’s health issues all season. Knee sprains in the season opener and on Nov. 27 limited Mitchell to just five games this season, and he had just 53 yards in 23 carries the previous two playoffs games.
Backing up McCaffrey against the host Eagles will be veteran Tevin Coleman and rookie Jordan Mason. Fellow running back Ty Davis-Price is inactive, as he’s been the previous two playoff games.
Coleman is suiting up for his ninth career playoff game, having gone to the postseason with the 2016 and ’17 Atlanta Falcons before playing a key role in the 2019 49ers’ playoff opener (105 yards, two touchdowns against Minnesota). Coleman has spent most of this season on the practice squad, getting called up for five regular-season games and performing best in their Oct. 9 win at Carolina by scoring two touchdowns.
Mason did not have any touches last game and had two carries for 12 yards in the playoff opener against Seattle. He averaged 6 yards per carry in the regular season (43 carries, 258 yards).
#49ers Deebo Samuel greets #Eagles AJ Brown while Jed York and NFL commish Roger Goodell talk on sideline pic.twitter.com/bGw2aHoTEQ
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) January 29, 2023
Defensive lineman Charles Omenihu is suiting up despite not only an oblique injury last game but an arrest Monday on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic violence. Omenihu is a key reserve on the defensive line, and he had two sacks in the playoff-opening win over Seattle.
Although Jimmy Garoppolo is out an eighth straight game because of his Dec. 4 foot fracture, he reportedly could make his practice return next week, if the 49ers advance to the Super Bowl, where he could serve as a backup to Brock Purdy.
Also out for the 49ers are defensive end Drake Jackson, cornerback Ambry Thomas, tight end Ross Dwelley and guard Nick Zackelj.
From @NFLGameDay: #49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo has healed enough to where practicing and backing up in the Super Bowl is now possible. pic.twitter.com/kH2Pxg2z7J
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 29, 2023
The Eagles’ inactive include running back Trey Sermon, a 2021 third-round pick who got cut by the 49ers before the season. Also out for the Eagles are quarterback Ian Book, cornerback Josiah Scott, safety Anthony Harris, linebacker Kyron Johnson and offensive lineman Josh Sills.
John Hussey is today’s referee, and he last worked a 49ers game when they launched their 12-game win streak back on Oct. 30 in Los Angeles. He was the referee when they last won the NFC Championship, in a January 2020 rout of the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium.
The Eagles have fond memories of Hussey, too. They are 6-0 in games refereed by him, including an October win this season in which his crew called 10 penalties on the Cowboys and two on the Eagles in their 26-17 win in Philadelphia.
Others on the crew: umpire Alan Eck (No. 76), down judge Dana McKenzie (No. 8), line judge Tim Podraza (No. 47), field judge Jabir Walker (No. 26), side judge Allen Baynes (No. 56), back judge Terrence Miles (No. 111) and replay official Jamie Nicholson.