Malcolm Smith

Kyle Shanahan reveals 49ers didn't sustain any long-term injuries vs. Cowboys

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AP

Kyle Shanahan reveals 49ers didn't sustain any long-term injuries vs. Cowboys

The 49ers believe their rash of injuries in the first half of Thursday night's preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys will not carry over into the regular season.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters that none of the injuries were serious enough to impact the 49ers when they open the regular season Sept. 9 against the Minnesota Vikings.

Tight end George Kittle and running back Matt Breida sustained separated shoulders, Shanahan said. Breida and Kittle will not participate in the final three preseason games as a precaution in order to ensure they will be available for the start of the regular season, league sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Veteran linebacker Malcolm Smith, who missed all of last season with a torn pectoral, sustained a hamstring strain on the sixth play of the game. Elijah Lee replaced him at middle linebacker.

“I do not think he’ll be available this week in Houston, but I think he’ll be week-to-week, and he’ll have a chance after this week,” Shanahan said of Smith.

Linebacker Eli Harold sustained a bruised knee and should not miss a significant amount of practice time. He is listed as “day to day.”

Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and offensive tackle Garry Gilliam now are in the NFL’s return-to-play protocol after being diagnosed with concussions.

Three 49ers starters injured in preseason opener

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USATSI

Three 49ers starters injured in preseason opener

SANTA CLARA – Jimmy Garoppolo got in and out of the 49ers’ exhibition opener Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys after converting a couple of third-down throws.

But three of the 49ers’ other starters were not so lucky.

Linebacker Malcolm Smith (hamstring), defensive end Solomon Thomas (head) and tight end George Kittle (shoulder) each sustained first-quarter injuries that could keep them out of action for a while. Smith, Thomas and Kittle left the playing field to return to the locker-room area for further observation immediately after sustaining their injuries.

Garoppolo played one series, and completed all three of his third-down attempts. Garoppolo found rookie receiver Richie James for a 9-yard completion on a third-and-8 play. Then, he hooked up with Marquise Goodwin for 18 yards on a third-and-10 play. On a third and 16, Garoppolo’s third-down pass to Jerick McKinnon gained just 7 yards.

Garoppolo, who misfired on his other three pass attempts, completed three of six passes for 34 yards. Backup C.J. Beathard replaced him at the beginning of the second series.

Backup running back Matt Breida sustained a shoulder injury late in the first quarter and would not return to action.

Early in the second quarter, backup offensive tackle Garry Gilliam left the field with a head injury, too.

Here are the players who saw action on offense and defense in the first quarter:

Offense

QB: Jimmy Garoppolo, C.J. Beathard
RB: Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert
FB: Kyle Juszczyk
WR: Pierre Garçon, Aaron Burbridge, Dante Pettis
WR: Marquise Goodwin, Aldrick Robinson, Kendrick Bourne
TE: George Kittle, Garrett Celek, Cole Hikutini
Slot: Richie James
LT: Joe Staley, Garry Gilliam
LG: Laken Tomlinson, Pace Murphy
C: Weston Richburg, Erik Magnuson
RG: Mike Person
RT: Mike McGlinchey

Defense

DE: Jullian Taylor, Ronald Blair
NT: Earl Mitchell, D.J. Jones
DT: DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Day
DE: Solomon Thomas, Cassius Marsh
SAM: Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson
MIKE: Reuben Foster
WILL: Malcolm Smith, Elijah Lee
LCB: Jimmie Ward
RCB: Ahkello Witherspoon
Nickel: D.J. Reed
FS: Adrian Colbert, Antone Exum
SS: Jaquiski Tartt, Chanceller James

Did Not Play

DL Arik Armstead (hamstring)
CB Richard Sherman (hamstring)
CB K'Waun Williams (ankle)
WR Trent Taylor (back)
G Jonathan Cooper (knee)
G Joshua Garnett (knee)
LB Brock Coyle (hip)
LB Fred Warner (chest)
OL JP Flynn (knee)
S Marcell Harris (Achilles)
TE Cole Wick (knee)

49ers camp preview: Malcolm Smith's return brings linebackers to full strength

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USATSI

49ers camp preview: Malcolm Smith's return brings linebackers to full strength

The 49ers’ coaching staff was devastated a year ago when starting inside linebacker Malcolm Smith, the team’s biggest free-agent pickup on defense, was lost for the season with a torn pectoral early in training camp.

Smith is back, though he will open training camp on the non-football injury list with a lower-leg injury. The 49ers expect Smith to be back early in camp.

The 49ers were determined to accumulate better depth in the offseason to withstand the two-game suspension Reuben Foster will serve at the beginning of the season.

Who’s Here

Inside -- Reuben Foster, Malcolm Smith, Fred Warner, Brock Coyle, Korey Toomer, Elijah Lee, Mark Nzeocha Outside -- Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson, Pita Taumoepenu

Best Of The Bunch

When Foster was on the field as a rookie, he was a dynamic presence in the middle of the team’s defense. But Foster missed six games due to injuries. He will not play a full season this year, either. Foster will serve a two-game suspension for violations of the league’s policies on substances of abuse and personal conduct after offseason charges of possession of marijuana in Alabama and an assault weapon in California. He will immediately step back into the lineup in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs and will likely lead the team in tackles and big hits.

Top Camp Battle

Warner vs. Toomer vs. Coyle. The 49ers anticipated losing Foster for a period of time this season, and they took measures to strengthen their depth at inside linebacker. Smith appears locked in as the middle linebacker. And in Foster’s absence, there figures to be good competition at the weakside position. One of these three players will be the starter in Week 1 at the Minnesota Vikings. Warner, a third-round draft pick from BYU, excels in coverage – a must for a three-down linebacker in today’s NFL. Toomer, a four-year veteran, started 16 games over the past two seasons with the Chargers. The 49ers also re-signed Coyle, who started 10 games last season at middle linebacker after the club released NaVorro Bowman. Coyle, originally added for his special-teams ability, got better and better throughout the season. He did not participate in the offseason program as he rehabbed from shoulder surgery.

Long Shot

Taumoepenu did not make any kind of impact as a rookie. He appeared in just two games and did not register a tackle or any statistics. Instead, most of his work was behind the scenes as he was devoted to getting stronger and learning the NFL game. The 49ers drafted Taumoepenu in the sixth round last year for his ability to rush the passer. He recorded nine sacks in his final season at Utah. The door is open for a young edge rusher to emerge, and Taumoepenu can work his way up the depth chart to become a factor in the 49ers’ nickel defense.

Overview

Harold returns as the starting “Sam” linebacker. The 49ers’ coaching staff likes Harold, and they would like to give him a chance to emerge as an every-down player. The team believes Harold can contribute as a pass-rusher, too. Foster will regain his starting role upon his return to action in Week 3. If Warner wins the job to open the season, he will try to make a case for remaining in the lineup – or, at least, earning a specialized role in the team’s nickel package.