After two seasons of an inordinate amount of injuries, the 49ers could be peaking health wise at the right time, but let’s not jinx anything.
Coach Kyle Shanahan gave an injury update via conference call Sunday following the team’s third preseason game, and the news was positive. Several players will be returning to practice, and some will even be cleared to play in Thursday’s game facing the Chargers.
The only player who sustained an injury facing the Chiefs was Kyle Juszczyk. X-rays on his hand came back negative after it collided with a helmet. The team had not planned to have him play on Thursday regardless.
Most of the players who were injured prior to the game remained in Santa Clara instead of traveling to Kansas City so they could work with the training staff during the short week.
Here’s the list of players and what Shanahan had to say about their status for the week:
DB K’Waun Williams (knee)
“I think we’ll up his stuff a little bit this week. I don’t know if we’ll be able to have a practice to involve him. We’ll see here over these next two days. We plan to get him back on the field in individual and stuff, but I don’t know if he’ll be ready for practice.”
Williams has been solid as the slot cornerback for the 49ers. While his job isn’t in jeopardy if he can’t immediately return to the field, it does have an impact on the other defensive backs. If he needs more time to recover from arthroscopic surgery on his knee, Jimmie Ward might need to assume that role, which would open up a spot for Tarvarius Moore at safety.
S Adrian Colbert (hamstring)
“We expect him to come back and be able to play this week.”
Colbert had an impactful end to his rookie season, but has yet been able to live up to the expectations of the coaching staff, partially due to injury. What he really needed was to make the most out of every snap in the preseason to earn a spot.
He has one more shot left during the preseason after missing the game in Kansas City.
OG Joshua Garnett (finger)
“Should be able to practice and play.”
The depth on the offensive line is thin after losing swing tackle Shon Colman for the season. Garnett has needed to prove his worth of being a former first-round draft pick, but there is a little likelihood that he will be cut without better options on the roster.
C Weston Richburg (knee)
“Hoping to activate Richburg this week so they can get him into practice this week. It depends on how it went, when we left him behind. I was told over the phone that it went well.
“We’ll see tomorrow when we bring him out onto the field. If he’s good enough to go with some people, then we’ll get him off of that so at least he can take some snaps with our quarterback and get a guy in front of him instead of just a bag and a trainer.”
The 49ers need Richburg healthy to protect their franchise quarterback, but they also are thinking long term. With Mike Person available to play at guard, Ben Garland had a respectable showing with the first team in Kansas City and could stand in until Richburg is completely healthy.
RB Raheem Mostert (quad)
"Mostert, he had that quad over the weekend so I don’t know how he is today, but hopefully he will be able to get back this week. I don’t know if he will tomorrow.”
Because of Mostert’s special teams abilities his roster spot is not in jeopardy, but it could affect how the team looks at Jeff Wilson Jr., and Austin Walters.
RB Jerick McKinnon (knee)
“McKinnon, we are hoping to get out there a little bit this week not necessarily in the game, but practice.”
The team will not rush McKinnon back as they have enough depth in the running backs room to be effective until he can return. Expect Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman to carry the bulk of the work.
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Other players fighting for a roster spot at positions with depth that should be able to practice and then play facing the Chargers are LB Elijah Lee (thumb), DL Jullian Taylor (back) and DL Ronald Blair (groin)
TE George Kittle (calf), DE Dee Ford (knee) and WR Jalen Hurd (back) will all likely return to practice but are not expected to play in the game on Thursday.