SANTA CLARA -- Three front-line starters who have contributed to the 49ers’ 11-2 start have been lost for the remainder of the season.
And the club is expected to be without two other starters and at least two other rotational players for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons at Levi’s Stadium.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said on a Thursday appearance on KNBR 680 that nose tackle D.J. Jones will be going on season-ending injured reserve. The 49ers are likely to activate defensive lineman Kentavius Street off injured reserve to take Jones’ spot on the team’s 53-man roster.
The 49ers have three games remaining in the regular season before heading into the playoffs, and they will have to rely on their depth to get through a time when their depth chart is being tested.
Cornerback K'Waun Williams did not practice on Thursday as he is working through the concussion protocol, but he has a chance to be able to play Sunday.
Here’s a look at the 49ers players who are not expected to play Sunday but could be available at some point before the end of the regular season and playoffs:
CB Richard Sherman
Cornerback Richard Sherman strained his right hamstring in the 49ers’ win in New Orleans. Shanahan said on KNBR that Sherman will not play against the Falcons. Sherman appeared to be striding well in rehab work on the practice field Thursday and said he expects to miss only one game. Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley will be the 49ers’ starting cornerbacks against Atlanta.
SS Jaquiski Tartt
Strong safety Jaquiski Tartt will miss his second consecutive game due to fractured ribs, Shanahan said on KNBR. The target for Tartt to return, if needed, is Week 17 against the Seattle Seahawks. Second-year player Marcell Harris will make his second start in place of Tartt.
DE Dee Ford
The 49ers want Ford to be ready for the playoffs after returning too soon from quadricep and hamstring injuries. Ford missed two games with the injury, then aggravated the condition while playing just four snaps against New Orleans. Ford is tied for third on the team with 6.5 sacks. The 49ers hope to achieve a first-round bye in the playoffs to buy him another week of rehab.
DT Jullian Taylor
Defensive tackle Jullian Taylor sustained ligament damage to his right elbow in the Week 13 game against the Baltimore Ravens. He will not be available to play Sunday at Levi’s Stadium but could be back as early as Week 16 against the Los Angeles Rams -- if he is needed. He should be OK for the playoffs.
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Here is the list of players who have seen action in more than a handful of games during the regular season who have been placed on season-ending injured reserve:
NT D.J. Jones
The loss of nose tackle Jones, who is ticketed to IR, is a big blow to the club. Jones started all 11 games in which he appeared and had turned into a force in the middle of the 49ers’ defensive line. He sustained a significant high-ankle sprain in the win over the Saints. Sheldon Day, Solomon Thomas, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner are among the players who can see action at nose tackle.
LB Kwon Alexander
Linebacker Kwon Alexander was placed on IR on Nov. 5 after tearing a pectoral. He underwent season-ending surgery. Alexander started the first eight games of the season and recorded 34 tackles, four passes defensed and two forced fumbles. Rookie Dre Greenlaw has taken over at his position.
C Weston Richburg
Center Weston Richburg sustained a torn patellar tendon in his right knee on Sunday in New Orleans. He started the first 13 games of the season and was playing at a high level in both the run game and in pass protection. Veteran Ben Garland will take over as the team’s starting center.
DL Ronald Blair
Ronald Blair played in the first nine games of the season and was filling a significant role as a rotational edge rusher in nickel situations. He had three sacks on the season before sustaining an injury on Nov. 11 while chasing down Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. Blair was the team’s third defensive end in their sub package behind Nick Bosa and Ford.
TE Garrett Celek
Tight end Garrett Celek went on IR after aggravating the back injury that required offseason surgery. He did not look healthy upon his return to action on Nov. 11 after missing the first eight games while on the physically-unable-to-perform list and had zero pass receptions in his five games. Rookie Daniel Helm was added to the roster, joining other tight ends George Kittle, Ross Dwelley and Levine Toilolo.
WR Marquise Goodwin
Marquise Goodwin went on IR this week with foot and knee issues. Goodwin had fallen out of the team’s receiver rotation after posting just 12 receptions for 186 yards with one touchdown in nine games. He started the team’s first six games of the season. The 49ers re-signed Jordan Matthews to be the team's sixth wide receiver.
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Here are the other 49ers on injured reserve:
DE Damontre Moore: He appeared in two games before sustaining a fractured forearm. The 49ers signed him Nov. 13 to replace Blair.
WR Trent Taylor: Had foot surgery in August and experienced complications to prevent his return this season.
WR Jalen Hurd: Third-round pick who caught two TD passes in his only preseason game before experiencing a stress reaction in his back and setbacks throughout the season.
RB Jerick McKinnon: He missed his second consecutive season due to knee issues resulting from a torn ACL in training camp of 2018.
CB Jason Verrett: He appeared in one game before going on IR on Oct. 3 due to a knee issue.
OT Shon Coleman: He sustained a fractured fibula and dislocated right ankle in the exhibition opener.
CB Tim Harris: A seventh-round draft pick, Harris went on IR due to a groin injury.
WR Shawn Poindexter: The 49ers placed the undrafted rookie from Arizona on IR on Aug. 22 with a torn ACL.
OL Andrew Lauderdale: The 49ers placed him on IR on Sept. 1.