Deebo Samuel, Elijah Mitchell set to return Week 18 vs. Cardinals

Jan 6, 2023, 2:40 PM | Updated: 3:25 pm
Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at...
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 01: Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on January 01, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers will have two of their biggest playmakers back for the regular-season finale. Head coach Kyle Shanahan announced Friday that wide receiver Deebo Samuel and running back Elijah Mitchell will return to the field for Week 18 vs. the Arizona Cardinals. Both players do not have an injury designation for this weekend, meaning they are cleared for full go Sunday.

Samuel has been off the field since suffering ankle and knee injuries in Week 14 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Officially diagnosed as ankle and MCL sprains, the Red & Gold felt relieved that their star player did not suffer a more catastrophic injury down the stretch. Returning to practice last week, Samuel has been a full participant in advance of Week 18, clearing the way for him to suit up Sunday afternoon.

Another player returning to the field is Elijah Mitchell, set to be activated off the injured reserve Saturday for Week 18.

Mitchell has been sidelined most of the season with MCL sprains, suffering his second one in Week 12 against the New Orleans Saints. Logging full practices all week, his return seemed inevitable prior to Shanahan’s confirmation Friday. Similar to Deebo Samuel, it remains to be seen how much both will be used in Week 18, but they’ll be out there nonetheless.

“I mean they’ll be up, they’ll be playing,” Shanahan confirmed Friday.

Mitchell’s activation means the 49ers will not be allowed to activate any other player of the IR this season, using two on said player. Fellow RB Christian McCaffrey will also play in Week 18, listed with ankle and knee issues at practice.

On the flip side, San Francisco will be without linebacker Dre Greenlaw and guard Aaron Banks for Week 18.

Greenlaw suffered a back injury during the third quarter of Week 17, missing most of the contest after the injury. Not practicing all week, his designation for the regular-season finale is not surprising, hoping he can return for the first round of the playoffs.

“Possibly,” Shanahan said regarding if Greenlaw could have played in Week 18. “We would have had to push it a little harder earlier in the week. So I think possibly.”

Banks is dealing with an MCL sprain suffered in Week 17 as well. Already expected to miss one week of football, his return for the playoffs is hopeful, getting some work off to the side of the field at practice this week.

Defensive tackles Javon Kinlaw and Arik Armstead are questionable for Week 18 due to illness. Both players are expected to give it a go, as the illness bug continues to sweep through the organization.

Click here to watch Kyle Shanahan’s full Friday presser

49ers Game Status Report:


QB Jimmy Garoppolo (foot)

OL Aaron Banks (knee/ankle)

LB Dre Greenlaw (back)

DL Kevin Givens (knee)

CB Ambry Thomas (ankle)


DL Arik Armstead (illness)

DL Javon Kinlaw (illness)


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Deebo Samuel, Elijah Mitchell set to return Week 18 vs. Cardinals