Christian McCaffrey

CMC to sit out Week 18 vs. Rams with mild right calf strain

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Coach Kyle Shanahan has a lot to consider this week as the 49ers put together their plan for their Week 18 game against the Los Angeles Rams.

The 49ers clinched the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed with their 27-10 victory over the Washington Commanders on Sunday at FedExField coupled with the Philadelphia Eagles’ loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

And while the inclination might be to sit all of their top players, that also is not possible.

However, the decision already has been made that running back Christian McCaffrey will sit out the regular-season finale due to a mild right calf strain.

Shanahan said McCaffrey will be ready to go when the 49ers play host to their first playoff game on Jan. 20 or Jan. 21.

“We’re real confident on that,” Shanahan said Monday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

“It was good news. It could’ve been a lot worse. We’re happy. We’ll take care of him this week and hopefully he’ll start getting to go during our off week.”

McCaffrey was limited to just one carry in the second half of Sunday’s game due to his calf condition. Backup Elijah Mitchell entered the game and gained a game-high 80 rushing yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.

Shanahan was noncommittal on whether quarterback Brock Purdy would play against the Rams. He sustained stingers the previous two games but made it through Sunday’s game without any issues.

The 49ers can have a maximum of only seven inactive players, and cornerback Ambry Thomas will be one of them. Thomas is scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday on a broken hand. He should be available for the 49ers when the playoffs begin.

Defensive tackle Arik Armstead (foot and knee) will not play against the Rams. He has missed four consecutive games.

“We’ll continue to rest him, get him ready for the playoffs,” Shanahan said of Armstead.

Safety Ji’Ayir Brown (knee) and tight end Ross Dwelley (high ankle) might not be available to face the Rams, either.

Also, wide receiver Jauan Jennings and backup tackle Jaylon Moore remain in the NFL’s return-to-play concussion protocol.

The 49ers on Wednesday will open the practice window for receiver/return man Ray-Ray McCloud (ribs). McCloud and Danny Gray (shoulder) could be elevated this week off injured reserve. Gray went through his first week of practice last week.

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