SANTA CLARA -- It is now in the hands of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan.
Linebacker Kwon Alexander has been fully cleared by the team’s medical staff, and it’s up to Shanahan whether Alexander will be active for Saturday’s playoff game.
“I was told a long time ago maybe there was a outside chance he could play in the championship,” Shanahan said. “Kwon has been trying to get back, trying to prove us wrong.”
Shanahan said Alexander is a week ahead of schedule. He intially said Alexander would take part in limited practice on Wednesday, but afterward the 49ers listed him as a full-go. He wore a blue jersey to signify he was off-limits for contact.
“Now it’s a coaching decision,” Shanahan said.
The 49ers remain optimistic that defensive end Dee Ford, who also is scheduled for limited practice on Wednesday, will be able to play on Sunday, Shanahan said. Strong safety Jaquiski Tartt will take part in full practice on Wednesday.
After earning a first-round bye and homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, the 49ers on Saturday play the Minnesota Vikings at 1:25 p.m. PT in the divisional round at Levi’s Stadium.
Alexander sustained a torn left pectoral in the 49ers’ Oct. 31 game against the Arizona Cardinals when he dove and tripped up running back Kenyan Drake. Alexander returned to practice last week but was not yet cleared for contact.
#49ers edge rusher Dee Ford (55) was back at practice Tuesday and is on target to play Saturday vs. Vikings. He played just four snaps in the final six games of the regular season due to a hamstring injury.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) January 8, 2020
Ford played just four snaps in the 49ers’ final six games of the regular season. After missing two games, he returned for the team’s Dec. 8 game against the New Orleans Saints but aggravated his hamstring injury after just four snaps.
Ford is a huge key to the 49ers’ pass rush at defensive end opposite of Nick Bosa on nickel situations. Ford registered 6.5 sacks in 10 games before he was slowed due to the hamstring injury.
Tartt sustained fractured ribs in the Dec. 1 game against the Baltimore Ravens when he went low to bring down running back Mark Ingram. Tartt returned to limited practice before the Week 17 game against the Seattle Seahawks but did not suit up for the game.
Guard Mike Person sat out the final two games of the regular season due to a neck condition. He is scheduled for limited practice on Wednesday. His status for Sunday’s game is unclear. First-year player Daniel Brunskill started the final two games at right guard in place of Person.