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49ers, Falcons injury reports: CB Johnson set to return, could start

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SANTA CLARA -- Veteran cornerback Dontae Johnson rejoined his 49ers teammates at practice Friday, less than a week after the passing of his mother, Holli Garner, in New Jersey.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Johnson will be in uniform Sunday when the 49ers face the Atlanta Falcons in a crucial game at Levi's Stadium. He said Johnson was enough of a veteran that he could immediately step back into the starting lineup.

Shanahan said he would have a talk with Johnson to gauge his readiness to play.

"He’s obviously just a week out from it and the grieving process takes a long time, so it was good to get him out there (Friday)," Shanahan said. "I think it was the first step. And we’ll continue to talk to him throughout the weekend.”

Running back Elijah Mitchell, the 49ers' leading ground-gainer, will miss his second consecutive game. Shanahan said the issue with Mitchell is more his sore knee than the concussion he sustained in the team's Week 13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Mitchell was expected to get cleared through the NFL's concussion protocol.

"I think he’s pretty good with that," Shanahan said. "There’s lots of steps in it, but he’s right towards the end of that. I think he might be getting cleared later (Friday). But it’s just the pain tolerance with the knee. We thought it would go down faster and it hasn’t as quickly as we thought it would.”

 

When asked if he is optimistic Mitchell will be available for the 49ers' game Thursday against the Tennessee Titans, Shanahan answered, "I'm not optimistic, but I'm hopeful."

Jeff Wilson Jr, Deebo Samuel and JaMycal Hasty are expected to share time in the backfield in place of Mitchell against the Falcons.

Rookie cornerback Ambry Thomas, who made his first NFL career start last week in Cincinnati, appears to be on pace to return to action after going into the NFL's return-to-play concussion protocol. He is listed as questionable

Nose tackle D.J. Jones returned to practice on Friday after sitting out practices Wednesday and Thursday due to knee soreness. He is listed as questionable for Sunday's game, along with safety Jaquiski Tartt (glute).

Tight end George Kittle (knee) and linebacker Fred Warner (ankle) did not appear on the 49ers' status report, which means both have been cleared to play in Sunday's game.

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Here are the status reports for both teams:

49ers

OUT

RB Elijah Mitchell (concussion/knee)

LB Dre Greenlaw (groin)

DL Maurice Hurst (calf)

Doubtful

LB Azeez Al-Shaair (elbow)

Questionable

NT D.J. Jones (knee)

CB Ambry Thomas (concussion)

S Jaquiski Tartt (glute)

Falcons

OUT

S Erik Harris (chest)

Questionable

OLB Dante Fowler Jr. (calf)

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