Jalen Hurd

49ers' Jalen Hurd ahead of Trent Taylor in rehabilitation progress

49ers' Jalen Hurd ahead of Trent Taylor in rehabilitation progress

SANTA CLARA -- Rookie wide receiver Jalen Hurd appears to be on pace to be available to join the 49ers’ active roster before Trent Taylor.

Taylor underwent surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot before the 49ers’ first preseason game. He went on injured reserve before Week 3, but has experienced a setback. Taylor is temporarily using a crutch for support.

Taylor, a third-year pro, is unlikely to be able to play at the first point he is eligible to return on Nov. 24 against Baltimore.

“He had an infection with it too so he had to start that over,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on Thursday. “It’s just cost him some time.

“I think we have a decision that we can bring him back by Baltimore, but it’s not looking likely right now.”

Hurd appears closer to being able to return. He was placed on injured reserve before Week 5 with a stress reaction in his back. He is eligible to practice next week and could play as early as Dec. 1 against Baltimore.

“So we’ll see how this week goes and we’ll make that decision next week,” Shanahan said. “If he’s not ready by then, he’ll be week-to-week to give him that chance to open up that three-week window.”

[RELATED: Kittle's availability in doubt for MNF]

Hurd, a fourth-round draft pick, caught two touchdown passes in his first preseason game on Aug. 10 against the Dallas Cowboys and has not played since.

Players are permitted to return off IR to practice after six weeks but must spend at least eight weeks on injured reserve before returning to play. Once a player returns to practice, there is a three-week window at the end of which the player must be activated to kept on season-ending IR. Teams are permitted to activate a maximum of two players off IR during the course of a season.

John Lynch pleased with 49ers' roster, as key injured starters return

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John Lynch pleased with 49ers' roster, as key injured starters return

The 49ers made their move a week ago and had no more deals to make on Tuesday's NFL trade deadline.

“We don’t have any draft choices left,” general manager John Lynch joked on 49ers Game Plan on NBC Bay Area.

The 49ers were 6-0 when they traded picks in the third and fourth rounds of the 2020 draft to the Denver Broncos for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and a fifth-round selection. Sanders made an immediate contribution, catching a touchdown pass on the opening drive of the game for the first points in the 49ers' 51-13 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Was the idea that an experienced, productive wide receiver was what the 49ers needed to push them over the top?

“We’re hoping so,” Lynch said. “What we knew is he’d make us better. We’ve long admired Emmanuel, for his talent but also his will. He’s a guy who loves the game and you see that come through the screen in the way he plays.

“He plays with heart, he plays with passion and he’s very skilled at what he does. And I think he’s a great fit for what we do offensively.”

Although the 49ers picked up a player who is under contract for just the remainder of the season, part of the attractiveness of adding Sanders was his familiarity with the offensive system. Denver’s offensive coordinator, Rich Scangarello, spent the past two seasons as 49ers quarterbacks coach under Kyle Shanahan. Sanders immediately stepped into the starting lineup and played more snaps than any other 49ers wide receiver.

Lynch said the addition of Sanders should also help the development of some of the team’s younger players, such as Dante Pettis and Deebo Samuel, the 49ers’ second-round picks from the past two drafts.

“Dante Pettis, I think a work in progress,” Lynch said. “He’s been challenged. At times, he’s stepped up. There’s more in there. We want to bring it out.”

Pettis has been unable to carry over the momentum from a strong finish as a rookie into this season. He caught 27 passes as a rookie for 467 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games. Thus far, he has just 10 receptions for 88 yards and one touchdown.

Samuel has been the 49ers’ top wide receiver. He has 18 catches in six games for 187 yards and a touchdown. He also has gained 37 yards on five rushing attempts, including a 20-yard touchdown against the Panthers.

“Kyle and his staff have been tremendous in finding ways to utilize his talents,” Lynch said of Samuel. “We believe he can be a complete receiver -- a guy who can do everything and has no limitations. I think that’ll come in time. They’re doing a great job of the explosive plays and finding creative ways to get him the ball.”

The 49ers head into Thursday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals in first place in the NFC West by two games. They expected to have their roster bolstered in the coming weeks by the returns of offensive tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, fullback Kyle Juszczyk and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon.

Lynch said he is hopeful -- but not necessarily optimistic -- that the 49ers can also get wide receivers Trent Taylor (foot) and Jalen Hurd (back) on the field this season. Both players are on injured reserve and eligible to return later in the season.

[RELATED: Lynch knows Jimmy G can put 49ers on his back when needed]

Lynch mentioned he had phone calls with executives around the league, but did not engage in any substantive trade talks at the deadline.

“We’re very happy with where our team’s at,” Lynch said. “In fact, we’re really pleased that pretty soon here we’re going to be getting some reinforcements back.”

Why 49ers should take chance on Josh Gordon when released by Patriots

Why 49ers should take chance on Josh Gordon when released by Patriots

The 49ers have already added Emmanuel Sanders in a trade this season. But is that enough?

The New England Patriots have shown us throughout the 21st century that you can never have enough talent, even if it comes with some baggage.

Michael Floyd. Kyle Van Noy. Aqib Talib. Josh Gordon.

These all are talented players who were acquired midseason by New England and were undervalued by their previous employers due to performance or off-field concerns.

Being aggressive in player acquisition doesn’t always work in such a team-oriented sport like the NFL, but Van Noy now has started in three consecutive Super Bowls and Gordon was a key cog on a championship Patriots squad in 2018.

With Gordon’s controversial tenure in New England now seemingly headed for cessation, there likely will be a flurry of teams interested in bringing in the star wideout despite him possessing a significant amount of baggage.

General manager John Lynch, coach Kyle Shanahan, and all of 49ers management is clearly invested in winning this season, given that the team already parted ways with a pair of draft picks to bring Sanders in from Denver.

However, if signed, Gordon immediately would be the second-best receiver on San Francisco’s roster behind Sanders, and would provide the team a big-play threat that doesn’t currently exist in the 49ers receiving core.

While Sanders is an elite player with undeniable, breakaway speed, his 5-foot-11 frame doesn’t allow for a lot of wins in 1-on-1 jump balls, something that helps out young quarterbacks like Garoppolo immensely.

Gordon’s 6-foot-3, 225-pound frame makes him a mismatch for just about any cornerback who lines up across from him.

While some other teams in the NFL -- like the Green Bay Packers, for example -- might have a more pressing, immediate need for an impact receiver like Gordon, the 49ers don't exactly have the healthiest unit of pass-catchers in the NFL. 

While the 49ers had previously hoped wideouts Jalen Hurd and Trent Taylor would be able to return off injured reserve when cleared, Shanahan told reporters Wednesday that both had suffered setbacks in their recoveries, and that he is now less optimistic about their potential return in 2019.

Rookie Deebo Samuel did return to practice Wednesday, but the South Carolina product is another 5-foot-11 target who can’t make nearly the same impact on the outside that Gordon could. 

Gordon’s very public past with substance abuse issues did flare up during his time with the Patriots, but New England stuck by him and continued to keep him on the roster and active until his recent injury.

Add in the fact that San Francisco is dead-last in the NFL with just 49 catches by wide receivers in 2019, and it’s clear that Sanders alone isn’t enough to give the 49ers offense a boost.

[RELATED: Why Sanders trade lets Shanahan open up 49ers playbook]

Robert Saleh’s defense won’t be able to pitch a shutout every week, and Jimmy Garoppolo will have to throw the ball consistently if the 49ers want to be true Super Bowl contenders. Teams will focus the majority of their attention on stopping George Kittle, so the team will need another guy who can create big plays in the passing game.

If the 49ers are as committed to winning a title this season as they claim to be, they should take a flyer on Gordon upon his release. When he’s fully healthy both physically and mentally, Gordon is more talented than 95 percent of NFL receivers and could be the piece that propels the 49ers to the Super Bowl.