Ellington sustained an ankle injury in the week of practice leading into last week's loss to the Steelers and did not suit up. McDonald suffered a leg contusion while covering a punt in the second quarter. Both players were limited participants in practice this week.
Ellington suited up for the season opener after a hamstring injury sidelined him for a significant portion of training camp, and went on to return a punt 85-yards for a touchdown, which wound up being called back because of two illegal blocks on the play. On offense, Ellington made two catches for five yards.
"I didn’t want to get into the game and it be three or four or five plays and then he was done," head coach Jim Tomsula said. "So, he thought he could go (in Pittsburgh), but we just made a decision not to push that and get into a situation where you’re a guy down.”
Ellington's absence allowed undrafted rookie receiver DeAndrew White to make his NFL debut, playing 24 snaps - 16 on offense, eight on special teams. White made two catches for 19 yards in the 43-18 loss.
McDonald has one catch for five yards on the season. His absence likely means an increased role for rookie tight end Blake Bell, who made his first catch as a pro in last week's loss.
Garrett Celek is second among 49ers tight ends with with five catches for 50 yards through two weeks.
White shared punt return duties with former Australian Rugby League star Jarryd Hayne and handled kickoffs. The Steelers punted just three times on the day, with White and Hayne each each making one return for four and seven yards, respectively.
Running back Reggie Bush did not travel with the team for the second straight week, thrusting Hayne and rookie Mike Davis into backup roles behind Carlos Hyde. Making his NFL debut in Pittsburgh, Davis ran for 14 yards on seven carries while spelling Hyde, who left the game in the second half, and didn't return, to get tested for a concussion. The tests proved negative, with Hyde feeling no ill effects from the hit leading into Sunday's game in Arizona.
"I feel real good, like Week 1," Hyde said this week.
In the first half, Hayne was given the first snaps ahead of Davis, before Davis took on a prominent role later in the game.
"We think Michael Davis is a good running back," Tomsula said. "Jarryd Hayne does more on special teams and different areas for us than Michael. But, Michael had an opportunity up. We think he’s a good running back, young running back. We’re going to hand him the football and let’s get going here.”
The Cardinals enter Sunday's game with the league's 10th-ranked rushing defense, allowing 163 yards combined in their first two games.
Arizona will be without its top running back Andre Ellington, who suffered a PCL sprain in his knee in the season opening win over the Saints. Ellington, Bruce's cousin, returned to practice this week but was listed as 'doubtful' for the game on Friday's injury report.
Former 49ers' left guard Mike Iupati (knee) is also inactive after returning to practice this week for the Cardinals.
WR J.J. Nelson
LB Shaq Riddick
Chris Biderman is the Editor-in-Chief of Niners Digest and covers the 49ers from their headquarters in Santa Clara. Chris has been writing about the team since the spring of 2013. The Ohio State alum received his Journalism degree in 2011 and has been working in sports media since 2008. Chris, a Santa Rosa, Calif. native, is also a contributor to the Associated Press covering sports throughout the Bay Area. You can follow Chris on Twitter here.
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