LOS ANGELES -- The 49ers will not have three offensive starters on Sunday for their NFC West showdown with the Los Angeles Rams.
Offensive tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, and fullback Kyle Juszczyk are expected to miss a month or more with their injuries.
Might the 49ers also be missing tight end George Kittle on Sunday?
That’s how this edition of 49ers Mailbag kicks off . . .
Q: Will George Kittle play? (Nathan Lane)
The 49ers did not make any transactions on Saturday. They also did not provide an update on Kittle’s condition, which would have been required if it had been determined he would not play.
The #49ers did not make any transactions today. Plain and simple, they don’t want to release anyone from their 53-man roster. Looks as if nothing has changed in Kyle Shanahan’s mind: He still expects George Kittle to play on Sunday.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) October 12, 2019
Coach Kyle Shanahan said on Friday he expects Kittle to be available. That appears to still be the case. Look for Kittle to play on Sunday. Last season, he caught 14 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns in two games against the Rams, so he figures to be an important piece of the team's game plan.
Assuming Kittle wakes up feeling good and does not experience any setback during his pregame warmups, he should be good to go. Kittle on Saturday posted on Instagram the following to let everyone know, "I ain't done."
The team must declare its seven inactive players 90 minutes before kickoff.
Q: Any news on players coming back from IR? (Chris Lynn Overstreet)
Four players (thus far) are eligible to return off injured reserve this season: defensive lineman, Kentavius Street, wide receivers Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd, and cornerback Jason Verrett. A player who goes on IR spends just eight games on the list before he is eligible to return.
Taylor is the best bet to return to action before the end of the season. The other spot will be determined by how the players respond in their rehabilitations and at what position they feel a need to add a player later in the season.
The 49ers do not have to declare which two players will return from injured reserve until, literally, they make that decision. They are keeping their options open with each of those players.
Q: When does the NFL need to determine the time/date of the week 16 matchup with the Rams? (Stépheñ Bůrkę)
The 49ers-Rams game scheduled for Week 16 is likely to be played on Saturday, Dec. 21. The NFL must make that decision no later than the Week 8 games in a couple of weeks.
The 49ers-Rams are among five games targeted for the Saturday of Week 16 to be televised on the NFL Network. The league will select three games from the list, which also includes Houston at Tampa Bay, Buffalo at New England, Detroit at Denver, and Oakland at the L.A. Chargers.
The start times for the Saturday games will be announced, and the two games that are not selected for Saturday will be moved to the Sunday schedule.
Q: Do you think Jordan Matthews has a chance to be activated this week? (Rob Nuufolau)
I expect wide receiver Jordan Matthews to be one of the team’s seven inactive players. All of the 49ers’ wide receivers are healthy and available, so there’s no reason for the 49ers to make a move there, as Kyle Shanahan explained.
“No receivers went down, so it probably won’t change with Jordan," Shanahan said.
It appears as if Jeff Wilson, who was inactive against the Cleveland Browns, will be in uniform due to Juszczyk's injury.
"Jeff has a chance. We still have our other backs, we didn’t lose any of them, but not having Kyle and losing a fullback does give us an option there," Shanahan said. "It’s going to be between him and another position."
My guesses for the seven inactive players for Sunday’s game are:
QB C.J. Beathard
WR Jordan Matthews
DL Jullian Taylor
And, of course, the four injured players . . .
FB Kyle Juszczyk
LT Joe Staley
RT Mike McGlinchey
CB Ahkello Witherspoon.