The 49ers likely will be without Dee Ford for at least a few more weeks.
Coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters in a video conference call Wednesday that he expects Ford, who has not played since Week 1 due to a back injury, will be placed on injured reserve later this week.
Ford would have to miss at least three games before he is eligible to be activated from IR.
The 49ers already are without defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas after each player sustained a torn ACL in a Week 2 win over the New York Giants. Ziggy Ansah and Dion Jordan impressed in their 49ers debuts in Week 3, and they -- along with edge rusher Kerry Hyder -- will have to carry the pass-rushing load with Ford also set to miss some time.
Ford joined the 49ers in a trade from the Kansas City Chiefs ahead of the 2019 season, signing a five-year contract worth up to $85.5 million. The 49ers restructured Ford's contract ahead of this season in order to free up salary-cap space. Ford, 29, has played in 12 of 19 regular-season games since joining the 49ers due to various injuries.
The 49ers beat the New York Jets and Giants in Ford's absence, and they'll play the 0-2-1 Philadelphia Eagles and 1-2 Miami Dolphins over the next two weeks. Their schedule quickly picks up after that, and Ford -- if placed on IR before the end of the week -- would first be eligible to return in Week 7 against resurgent quarterback Cam Newton and the New England Patriots.
Ford, who has 6.5 sacks in 12 career games with the 49ers, likely will be needed sooner rather than later when -- or if -- he's healthy enough to return.