Christian McCaffrey Injury Update: Latest News on 49ers’ Star RB

Christian McCaffrey is having a near-MVP-level season, but a calf injury could keep him sidelined. Any lingering injury could leak into the postseason.

With no Nick Chubb on an NFL field for most of the season, there’s no question who the top running back is in the league. San Francisco 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey is one of the most electric players in the NFL. The veteran RB topped 2,000 all-purpose yards against the Washington Commanders but left the field with a calf injury.

Christian McCaffrey Injury Update

The 49ers’ official X (formerly Twitter) account reported the superstar RB as questionable to return with that calf injury. Considering McCaffrey’s unique importance to the 49ers’ offense, even if the injury is minor, there’s no point in returning to the game and risking further injury.

Soft tissue injuries can be touchy, particularly for ultra-explosive players like McCaffrey.

The do-it-all back has a questionable injury history. His laundry list of prior ailments played a large part in his arrival in San Francisco from Carolina.

But since coming to San Francisco, McCaffrey has avoided any major injuries. After playing just 10 games between 2020 and 2021, he’s played in every game for the 49ers.

MORE: San Francisco 49ers Depth Chart

But it’s also important to note that McCaffrey led the league in touches in 2019, and he did so once again this season. That type of workload is often detrimental to the position, and it’s worth keeping an eye on how San Francisco handles him next week.

“I think it was minor and just made the smart move, especially not knowing what was going to happen next week,” McCaffrey said after the game. “I didn’t just want to go in there and make it any worse. With certain things, you can’t be dumb about it.”

Potential Fantasy Football Impact

Elijah Mitchell filled in and was fed in CMC fashion following the injury. We’ve seen this in the past where a running back gets hurt, and the immediate fix isn’t always predictive of what we see the following week with time to game plan, so be careful in assuming that any back in San Francisco would fill the elite role that McCaffrey vacates.

That said, Mitchell is the favorite to pick up work in this elite offense. The Rams’ defense has stiffened against the run over the past month, thus lowering our expectations for Mitchell, especially given the lack of clarity on his exact role.

Both Mitchell and Jordan Mason need to be rostered at this point, no questions asked. As for the rest of this offense, nothing really changes.

Brock Purdy may pick up some volume, but without McCaffrey in the mix, his per-pass projection would decline a bit. Deebo Samuel is a weekly starter, and that is only reinforced by a slight uptick in his rushing expectations.

This injury hurts the McCaffrey manager in a big way, but for such an elite player, his impact on the value of those around him is minimal.

— PFN Fantasy Analyst Kyle Soppe

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