Shanahan admires 49ers' Williams, Johnson fighting injuries


The 49ers are dealing with an inordinate amount of injuries, but the secondary might be the hardest-hit position group.

Defensive back K'Waun Williams, who already was dealing with a hip injury, sustained a knee sprain in Sunday's 25-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and now will miss a few weeks. Coach Kyle Shanahan revealed Monday that cornerback Dontae Johnson sustained a groin injury during the game.

Those injuries were on top of Richard Sherman (calf), Emmanuel Moseley (concussion protocol) and Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring) all not playing Sunday. Shanahan said he hopes to get a few players back in the secondary heading into Week 5, but he's not counting on it. The slight silver lining is that Williams and Johnson's injuries aren't season ending.

Through the game, without backups available to step in, Williams and Johnson battled through their injuries and played as much as possible. Shanahan was extremely thankful for their efforts.

“I can’t tell you how much respect I have for K’Waun,” Shanahan said. “The fact that he’s been out there every week for us. The fact that when he was getting hurt throughout the game he kept trying come in because he knew how down we were.

“Dontae Johnson, he hurt his groin during the game but we didn’t have enough guys up, so he came back in the game just tying to battle through it. That was tough for him towards the end, especially giving up that go route.”


Sherman is eligible to come off IR this week, but that would be a best-case scenario. Shanahan said the All-Pro's injury was originally diagnosed with a three-to-four week recovery, and the end of that range would mean keeping Sherman on IR until the 49ers play the Los Angeles Rams in Week 6.

Shanahan said he will get updates on Witherspoon and Moseley on Wednesday. The 49ers got good news on Jason Verrett, who will be cleared for practice this week despite hurting his hand Sunday.

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With COVID-19 safety procedures in place, it's difficult to have a player available to play Sunday if they weren't in the building by the previous Monday.

The 49ers still pulled it off last week, signing Jamar Taylor to the practice squad Friday and promoting him to the 53-man roster Saturday.

"[His] first play was when K’Waun went out,” Shanahan said of Taylor. “We have a blitz called 'Shark,' which is named after K’Waun because he is a shark. But then Jamar came and and got the 'Shark' blitz and got the sack. It was a hell of a job by him being ready.”