49ers

49ers' injuries continue to pile up as NFL playoffs rapidly approach

49ers' injuries continue to pile up as NFL playoffs rapidly approach

SANTA CLARA -- Three front-line starters who have contributed to the 49ers’ 11-2 start have been lost for the remainder of the season.

And the club is expected to be without two other starters and at least two other rotational players for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons at Levi’s Stadium.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said on a Thursday appearance on KNBR 680 that nose tackle D.J. Jones will be going on season-ending injured reserve. The 49ers are likely to activate defensive lineman Kentavius Street off injured reserve to take Jones’ spot on the team’s 53-man roster.

The 49ers have three games remaining in the regular season before heading into the playoffs, and they will have to rely on their depth to get through a time when their depth chart is being tested.

Cornerback K'Waun Williams did not practice on Thursday as he is working through the concussion protocol, but he has a chance to be able to play Sunday.

Here’s a look at the 49ers players who are not expected to play Sunday but could be available at some point before the end of the regular season and playoffs:

CB Richard Sherman

Cornerback Richard Sherman strained his right hamstring in the 49ers’ win in New Orleans. Shanahan said on KNBR that Sherman will not play against the Falcons. Sherman appeared to be striding well in rehab work on the practice field Thursday and said he expects to miss only one game. Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley will be the 49ers’ starting cornerbacks against Atlanta.

SS Jaquiski Tartt

Strong safety Jaquiski Tartt will miss his second consecutive game due to fractured ribs, Shanahan said on KNBR. The target for Tartt to return, if needed, is Week 17 against the Seattle Seahawks. Second-year player Marcell Harris will make his second start in place of Tartt.

DE Dee Ford

The 49ers want Ford to be ready for the playoffs after returning too soon from quadricep and hamstring injuries. Ford missed two games with the injury, then aggravated the condition while playing just four snaps against New Orleans. Ford is tied for third on the team with 6.5 sacks. The 49ers hope to achieve a first-round bye in the playoffs to buy him another week of rehab.

DT Jullian Taylor

Defensive tackle Jullian Taylor sustained ligament damage to his right elbow in the Week 13 game against the Baltimore Ravens. He will not be available to play Sunday at Levi’s Stadium but could be back as early as Week 16 against the Los Angeles Rams -- if he is needed. He should be OK for the playoffs.

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Here is the list of players who have seen action in more than a handful of games during the regular season who have been placed on season-ending injured reserve:

NT D.J. Jones

The loss of nose tackle Jones, who is ticketed to IR, is a big blow to the club. Jones started all 11 games in which he appeared and had turned into a force in the middle of the 49ers’ defensive line. He sustained a significant high-ankle sprain in the win over the Saints. Sheldon Day, Solomon Thomas, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner are among the players who can see action at nose tackle.

LB Kwon Alexander

Linebacker Kwon Alexander was placed on IR on Nov. 5 after tearing a pectoral. He underwent season-ending surgery. Alexander started the first eight games of the season and recorded 34 tackles, four passes defensed and two forced fumbles. Rookie Dre Greenlaw has taken over at his position.

C Weston Richburg

Center Weston Richburg sustained a torn patellar tendon in his right knee on Sunday in New Orleans. He started the first 13 games of the season and was playing at a high level in both the run game and in pass protection. Veteran Ben Garland will take over as the team’s starting center.

DL Ronald Blair

Ronald Blair played in the first nine games of the season and was filling a significant role as a rotational edge rusher in nickel situations. He had three sacks on the season before sustaining an injury on Nov. 11 while chasing down Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. Blair was the team’s third defensive end in their sub package behind Nick Bosa and Ford.

TE Garrett Celek

Tight end Garrett Celek went on IR after aggravating the back injury that required offseason surgery. He did not look healthy upon his return to action on Nov. 11 after missing the first eight games while on the physically-unable-to-perform list and had zero pass receptions in his five games. Rookie Daniel Helm was added to the roster, joining other tight ends George Kittle, Ross Dwelley and Levine Toilolo.

WR Marquise Goodwin

Marquise Goodwin went on IR this week with foot and knee issues. Goodwin had fallen out of the team’s receiver rotation after posting just 12 receptions for 186 yards with one touchdown in nine games. He started the team’s first six games of the season. The 49ers re-signed Jordan Matthews to be the team's sixth wide receiver.

* * *

Here are the other 49ers on injured reserve:

DE Damontre Moore: He appeared in two games before sustaining a fractured forearm. The 49ers signed him Nov. 13 to replace Blair.

WR Trent Taylor: Had foot surgery in August and experienced complications to prevent his return this season.

WR Jalen Hurd: Third-round pick who caught two TD passes in his only preseason game before experiencing a stress reaction in his back and setbacks throughout the season.

RB Jerick McKinnon: He missed his second consecutive season due to knee issues resulting from a torn ACL in training camp of 2018.

CB Jason Verrett: He appeared in one game before going on IR on Oct. 3 due to a knee issue.

OT Shon Coleman: He sustained a fractured fibula and dislocated right ankle in the exhibition opener.

CB Tim Harris: A seventh-round draft pick, Harris went on IR due to a groin injury.

WR Shawn Poindexter: The 49ers placed the undrafted rookie from Arizona on IR on Aug. 22 with a torn ACL.

OL Andrew Lauderdale: The 49ers placed him on IR on Sept. 1.

Emmanuel Sanders offers advice to 49ers playing in first Super Bowl

Emmanuel Sanders offers advice to 49ers playing in first Super Bowl

While Emmanuel Sanders is heading to his third career Super Bowl, many of his teammates on the 49ers will be playing in their first when they take on the Chiefs on Feb. 2 in Miami.

In an interview with ESPN's Josina Anderson moments after the 49ers beat the Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, the veteran wide receiver explained how his mindset changed from his first Super Bowl appearance to his second, and how that will impact how he approaches Super Bowl LIV.

"It's a blessing. It's a blessing," Sanders told Anderson in the 49ers' locker room. "Truthfully, I'm going to enjoy this one, but at the same time, only thing is, we gotta go out and win it. So Miami is gonna be fun, but we gotta go and handle business.

"I remember in 2010 when I went to the Super Bowl, I said I want to make it to the Super Bowl and then we went out there and lost. And then in '15, I said I want to win the Super Bowl and we ended up winning it. Right now, my mentality is we gotta go win the Super Bowl. It's good to make it, but we gotta go win it. That's the only thing on my mind."

Sanders' first Super Bowl appearance came in his rookie season, and he caught two passes for 17 yards in the Pittsburgh Steelers' loss to the Packers in Super Bowl XLV.

Five years later, Sanders caught six passes for 83 yards to help the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium.

Now, he will try to help the team that calls Levi's home win its sixth Super Bowl in franchise history.

[RELATED: 49ers installing Super Bowl gameplan this week]

So what advice would Sanders give to all the first-time Super Bowl participants on the 49ers?

"Lock in," Sanders told Anderson. "Obviously, this week is going to be big because when we get to Miami, it's going to be a frenzy, so this week, we've got to practice like it is Super Bowl week just so we can stay focused.

"Then next week still have that same mentality, but we know it's going to be crazy out there. All the times that I've been, that first week was the most important week, so that's my message to the guys, just like Kyle [Shanahan] said."

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).

How Falcons' Super Bowl loss will help 49ers' Kyle Shanahan vs. Chiefs

How Falcons' Super Bowl loss will help 49ers' Kyle Shanahan vs. Chiefs

SANTA CLARA — As the Falcons’ offensive coordinator three years ago, Kyle Shanahan came away from his first trip to a Super Bowl having learned a few lessons. The biggest one was not that he didn’t call a run play on that fateful second-and-11 situation in the fourth quarter against the Patriots. 

Shanahan will be making his second Super Bowl appearance in less than two weeks and his previous experience has shaped the way he approaches a game forever. While there are always plays that he would like to have back, it’s a bigger lesson that left an imprint on the 49ers play caller. 

“Losing a Super Bowl is extremely tough for everybody especially when you lose when you had a 28-3 lead going into the fourth,” Shanahan said. “The learning moments are — never feel good.

“I mean that’s why I promise you when we we're way up in the fourth quarter on Green Bay and stuff, I know what 28 minus three is. And I know a 25-point lead in the fourth quarter isn’t enough.” 

While 28-3 is the score everyone remembers, the Falcons actually led 28-9 entering the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LI.

That mentality hits home for Shanahan during every game, and obviously reoccurred in the 49ers' 37-20 win over the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. 

“So when we have a 14-point lead with eight minutes to go against Green Bay, I can promise you that I feel, from experience, like the game is tied and that we don’t have a two-score lead.” 

Shanahan will forever feel like a team has the ability to mount a comeback but he knows that one play call towards the end of the game was not the reason Atlanta lost. In the first half of Super Bowl LI, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman ran the ball nine times for 86 yards, averaging 9.6 yards per carry. 

In the second half, the Patriots shut down the run game and the two backs ran the ball nine times for 18 yards, averaging only two yards per carry.

[RELATED: 49ers will install gameplan this week]

Shanahan admits he will never call a perfect game, because that is an impossible feat, but he vows to never take his foot off the gas. 

“I think that’s the stuff that helps you because I think sometimes people can tend to relax,” Shanahan said. "That’s something that I, I won’t say that I ever relaxed in that Super Bowl especially with Tom Brady having the ball. But that’s something that keeps you humble every single moment until the game is over.”