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Shanahan expects 49ers to be short-handed vs. Rams this week

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The 49ers on Wednesday activated defensive lineman Arik Armstead and backup center Hroniss Grasu off the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list.

The 49ers now have seven players who remain on the list, and coach Kyle Shanahan is working under the assumption his team will be shorthanded when it takes the field Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

“Oh, yeah, I expect there will not be guys who can play,” Shanahan said on Wednesday. “I’m just hoping they can. We’ll see.”

Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, left tackle Trent Williams, defensive linemen Javon Kinlaw, D.J. Jones and Jordan Willis, linebacker Joe Walker and tight end Daniel Helm remain on the list.

Armstead and Grasu are allowed to return to practice on Thursday.

“The other guys we have to wait and see,” Shanahan said. “I’m not counting on it. But I’m hoping.

“We’ll have to see if we have a chance to get them back at the end of the week, but we’re not guaranteed with that.”

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Shanahan said the 49ers’ coaching staff has to be cognizant of how they work players on the practice squad this week.

The main objective of the practice squad is to mimic the opposition's plays to fully prepare the first-team offense and defense. But the 49ers might also be simultaneously getting those players prepared to play against the Rams in a key NFC West matchup.


“If those guys (on the COVID list) don’t come back, those guys are going to be the guys playing in the game,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan said he does not believe there is much possibility the game will be moved from its scheduled Sunday kickoff because the 49ers appear to have things under control after being shut out of their facility last week.

The 49ers returned this week from their bye week.

“This has given us enough time to recover,” Shanahan said. “We’ve been good in our building for a number of days. It doesn’t look like it’s getting worse.”

The 49ers are hopeful they will see the returns of running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, wide receiver Deebo Samuel and cornerback Richard Sherman from injuries.

“They haven’t played in a while, so we got to be smart with them,” Shanahan said. “The guys who have been playing got a lot of rest last week, so hopefully they’re fresh.”

Sherman has not played since Week 1 due to a calf injury. He began practicing two weeks ago but was not activated for the 49ers’ Week 10 game at New Orleans.

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Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley have started at the cornerback positions in Sherman’s absence.

“If Sherm is back there and back to himself, fully, and back to 100 percent, we get him back there fully,” Shanahan said. “I’m glad we got him in a week before the break to get him acclimated a bit. 

“We’ll see how this week goes. When Sherm is ready to go, he’ll be back to his spot. But (we’re) in no hurry to do that. We got a number of guys who’ve been playing well while he’s been out and we don’t mind easing him back in, either. But that’ll be decided with how he looks in practice the next three days.”