With starter Raheem Mostert expected to miss Sunday's game against the Giants with an MCL sprain and backup Tevin Coleman possibly landing on injured reserve because of a knee sprain, former Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon will start Sunday.
McKinnon tore his ACL just before 2018 season and then had another surgery to pack bone marrow from his hip into the graft in his knee after he was ruled out for 2019.
"I'm very confident in Jet. He's done a great job in all the reps that he's gotten in these two weeks," coach Kyle Shanahan said. "Every time he's gotten opportunities, he came through for us. Obviously, with those two guys being out, he should get more opportunities this week and he deserves it. I know he's excited for it and we're excited to see him."
The 49ers also believe McKinnon can withstand an increased workload. McKinnon is far enough removed from the injury that he's no longer on a pitch count, Shanahan said, which is often afforded to players early in the year coming off significant injuries.
"Jet's good to go from what we see, from what the doctor see and from what he tells us," said Shanahan.
The team has said McKinnon was fully cleared for football activities last November, months after the follow-up procedure on his knee. He spent the COVID-19 offseason working out vigorously, which included stints at the gym owned by new 49ers left tackle Trent Williams and Detroit running back Adrian Peterson in Houston.
Williams has been one of McKinnon's most vocal proponents coming into the season. He said during training camp he thought McKinnon was a surefire breakout player based on the way he worked out and looked in practice.
McKinnon has scored two touchdowns in his two games while impressing his coaches and teammates. He has 101 yards on just six carries since returning.
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