Defensive end Dee Ford, who has not played since Oct. 24 due to a back condition, appears to need more time to get ready to return to action.
The 49ers were hopeful Ford could be ready to face the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12, but he was not activated for the game. And he is unlikely to be available to face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, either.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said there has not been a setback. It’s all part of the process in dealing with back issues.
“That's just comes and goes,” Shanahan said. “That's kind of how it's been, so that's why you're never quite sure. That's why he wasn't able to go later in this week and most likely won't go on Sunday. We'll see how he goes (Saturday) though, because that changes.”
The 49ers opened the 21-day practice window for Ford on Nov. 25. By Wednesday, Dec. 15, the club must decide whether to keep Ford on injured reserve for the remainder of the season or activate him to the 53-man roster.
Ford, 30, has appeared in six games this season. He has registered three sacks and five tackles as a situational pass-rusher. Since coming to the 49ers in a 2019 trade, Ford has 9.5 sacks in just 18 regular-season games.
The 49ers acquired defensive lineman Charles Omenihu in a trade with the Houston Texans to help compensate for the losses of Ford and Javon Kinlaw, who underwent season-ending ACL surgery.
Omenihu has the versatility to play any spot on the defensive line as a backup.
The 49ers moved Arik Armstead permanently to defensive tackle as part of their defensive line shuffle. Armstead had been playing defensive end on base downs before moving inside to rush the passer on nickel downs.
“We’ve always liked him inside the most,” Shanahan said of Armstead. “He does a really good job. We like him in the run game so much on the outside because of what he does to tight ends. But his best spot is always inside.
“And then once—Dee Ford hasn't been out there like we were hoping, and then when we lost (Kinlaw), we knew we had to move Arik inside as a full-time deal.”