McCaffrey (knee) isn’t practicing Wednesday, but 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said he’s hopeful the running back will play Sunday against the Dolphins, David Lombardi of The Athletic reports.

With Elijah Mitchell (knee) expected to miss the rest of the regular season, a McCaffrey absence would leave San Francisco’s backfield in the hands of Jordan Mason, Tyrion Davis-Price and possibly Tevin Coleman. Receiver Deebo Samuel would also be a candidate for increased contributions in the running game. When Mitchell and then McCaffrey suffered injuries this past Sunday against New Orleans, Mason took over as the 49ers’ top option, though Mason’s status as the No. 3 back may have had more to do with his contributions on special teams rather than on offense. In any case, the Niners hope to mostly avoid the situation by getting McCaffrey ready for a large workload this Sunday. The star running back reportedly is dealing with a sore/irritated knee, as opposed to the structural damage Mitchell suffered.

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