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Tevin Coleman a question mark for Sunday due to air quality

The 49ers and Tevin Coleman could have some decisions to make as the team’s Week 1 matchup approaches.

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Tevin Coleman of the San Francisco 49ers rushes during training camp at the SAP Performance Facility on August 18, 2020 in Santa Clara, California. Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Game day update 11 a.m. ET: The AQI is currently 171 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, per Matt Maiocco. It would appear Tevin Coleman will be discussing his game status with the 49ers coaches and medical staff leading up to kickoff.

The San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, but the California fires are creating problems with the air quality. If the Air Quality Index (AQI) rises to 200, the game could be postponed or relocated. However, even if it does not climb that high, it could cost the team running back Tevin Coleman.

Coleman has the sickle-cell trait and as noted back in 2016 when his then Atlanta Falcons team was headed to face the Denver Broncos, “[it] can cause complications if an individual is under physical stress in extremely hot weather or in environments with low oxygen.”

Coleman warmed up for practice on Friday, but did not participate due to the poor AQI in Santa Clara, per reporter Eric Branch. After practice, head coach Kyle Shanahan told the media that if the AQI was above 150 on game day, the team and Coleman would discuss his playing status. It’s not an “automatic no,” per reporter Matt Barrows, but it will be discussed.

As of this article publishing, the AQI is listed at 208, but there is reportedly fresh air on the way to clear out some of the smoke. Projections have an AQI of north of 200, but that can change in a hurry depending on how the wind blows.

Raheem Mostert is the 49ers likely starter at running back, with Coleman getting a significant chunk of work and Jerick McKinnon likely getting a good deal of passing work. If Coleman is unable to play, Mostert might be closer to a work-horse, but McKinnon would likely see a bump in work and Jeff Wilson would get more short yardage work.