49ers hit by injuries during offseason program, 18 players missing time

49ers hit by injuries during offseason program, 18 players missing time

SANTA CLARA – After two seasons in which the 49ers have been ravaged by injuries, the club is missing 18 players during the offseason program due to injuries.

“Just going off experience, this is the most time I’ve had with people missing OTAs,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “But we’ve been really healthy the last two OTAs, and it’s been the opposite in (training) camp.

“So maybe it’ll be the opposite this year. We’re not healthy in OTAs, which might be a good sign for training camp.”

First-round draft pick Nick Bosa was added to the list on Tuesday with a right hamstring injury. The severity of his injury is not known, but many other players are certain to sit out the remainder of the offseason program, which wraps up June 13.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo took 20 snaps Tuesday in 7-on-7 drills and completed 75 percent of his pass attempts. But he will be held out of all 11-on-11 drills during the offseason program as a precaution after sustaining a torn ACL in his left knee in Week 4.

“It’ll take him a while before he’s able to protect himself and react, and keep people away from his legs,” Shanahan said of Garoppolo.

Running backs Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert will not be available until training camp. McKinnon is returning from a torn ACL that wiped out his entire 2018 season. He is expected to be ready for the opening of training camp. Breida recently sustained a partially torn pectoral muscle in the weight room. 

Breida did not require surgery, Shanahan said.

“It’s frustrating for Breida because he can do just about everything,” Shanahan said. “He just has to avoid contact. He can’t be out there running with other people on the field.”

Mostert sustained a fractured forearm in Week 9 against the Raiders and had surgery to insert a plate.

“They had to re-do the exact same thing,” Shanahan said. “When it’s not growing back together the right way it’s better to just start it over. . . (It’s) not too big of a deal, it just added another month.”

Veteran tight end Garrett Celek, who sustained a concussion in Week 16 and was inactive for the season finale, has yet to be cleared from concussion protocol, Shanahan said. He is also experiencing problems with his back, which places his future in question.

[RELATED: How 49ers receivers will have different look this season]

“He can’t get cleared from that until training camp, so (we’re) going to have to be patient with him, too,” Shanahan said.

Linebacker Fred Warner recently underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean out his knee and will not participate in OTAs, Shanahan said. The club expects him to be cleared for the start of training camp.

Linebacker Kwon Alexander (knee), cornerback Jason Verrett (Achilles), center Weston Richburg (knee-quadriceps) and rookie receiver Jalen Hurd (knee) are among the players who are not practicing due to surgeries from injuries sustained last season.

DeAndre Hopkins, 49ers' new rival, says he's NFL's best wide receiver

DeAndre Hopkins, 49ers' new rival, says he's NFL's best wide receiver

One of the 49ers' newest rivals is coming to the NFC West with lots of confidence.

DeAndre Hopkins hasn't even suited up for the Arizona Cardinals yet, but he told ESPN's "Jalen & Jacoby Show" that he "definitely" is the best wide receiver in the NFL. 

"I know I'm the best," Hopkins said Thursday. "Mike's my boy. I love [New Orleans Saints wide receiver] Michael [Thomas] ... but he knows if I had Drew Brees my whole career what these numbers would be. [Falcons wide receiver] Julio Jones knows if I had Matt Ryan my whole career. That's my boy. I trained with Julio, too. He knows what these numbers would be."

Hopkins caught passes from Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson over the last two-and-half seasons before Hopkins was traded to the Cardinals this offseason, and Watson is no slouch as a quarterback. The 27-year-old receiver made First Team All-Pro in each of the last three seasons since Watson was drafted, catching 257 passes for 3,288 yards and 24 touchdowns in the QB's 37 career starts.

But Hopkins was great despite playing with numerous forgettable quarterbacks in four years before Watson arrived in Houston, making the Pro Bowl in 2015 after finishing third in receiving yards (1,521) and tied for seventh in TDs (11) while Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates and Brandon Weeden each started at least one game.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Hopkins won't have to worry about that in 2020, barring injury, as he's set to team up with up-and-coming star Kyler Murray in Kliff Kingsbury's high-octane offense. That combination has the potential to be a thorn in the 49ers' side for years to come.

If you agree with where Hopkins stands among the game's best wide receivers, he'll pose a threat to the 49ers this season. Thomas and Jones each carved up the 49ers' dominat defense last season, with both catching 11 or more passes for 134 yards and at least one touchdown. Of the receivers who accrued at least 100 receiving yards in a game against the 49ers, Thomas (13) and Jones (11) had the most receptions.

[RELATED: How Washington jumping gun on Williams benefited 49ers] 

Hopkins will have two chances to replicate his peers' production, and he'll be aided by arguably a better supporting cast of receivers. Larry Fitzgerald caught 75 passes for 804 yards as a 36-year-old last season, while Christian Kirk had 709 receiving yards himself. Fitzgerald has gained more receiving yards (2,381) and scored more touchdowns (19) against the 49ers than any other team in his career, while Kirk has scored two of his six career TDs (in two seasons) against San Francisco.

The All-Pro receiver's swagger alone won't knock the 49ers off their divisional perch, but Hopkins' arrival should keep them -- and their secondary -- up at night preparing for (at least) two games against the Cardinals this season. 

How 49ers' Trent Williams trade benefited from Washington jumping gun

How 49ers' Trent Williams trade benefited from Washington jumping gun

If Trent Williams is fully healthy and plays up to his ability, the 49ers got an absolute steal in only giving up a 2020 fifth-round pick and 2021 third-round selection in last month's trade with Washington. Had he played last season, it's highly unlikely San Francisco would have been able to acquire him for such a low cost.

And, thanks to Washington jumping the gun, he didn't.

Williams joined NFL Media's Ian Rapoport on the "RapSheet and Friends" podcast set to debut Friday and revealed that he was, in fact, prepared to suit up for Washington once he reported to the team after the trade deadline last season. But before his new helmet could arrive, Washington placed him on the reserve/non-football injury list, officially ending his season.

"The competitive juices started to flow, so I was really prepared to make my return last year," Williams told Rapoport. "I know all of the things that had went on and just being in that facility, being around teammates, being around the guys you fought with and bled with for some many years. It was almost impossible for me to fight the urge not to just want to get back on the field. I was literally waiting on my new helmet to come in. I was getting ready to kind of gear up and it was going to be somewhat of a surprise to some, but I think for the people who know me best, they know how competitive I am.

"... I was under the impression my new helmet was coming in that Tuesday, and then I was put on the NFI ... right before I could even get the helmet to get back out there. It was a bummer but figured it was just how it was supposed to work out."

[RELATED: 49ers help Williams by restructuring final year of contract]

It should be noted, Washington saved $6 million by placing Williams on the NFI. Of course, that likely was the final nail in the coffin for their relationship. 

Williams doesn't sound too upset about it. You can be sure the 49ers -- who now have arguably the NFL's best offensive tackle -- aren't either.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]