One of the lead stories entering the 49ers’ marquee matchup with the Seattle Seahawks, was that it saw the return of a number of key players coming off extended stays on the injured list.
Tackles Mike McGlinchey and Joe Staley, fullback Kyle Juszczyk and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon were all activated, though Witherspoon wasn’t healthy enough to start.
Yet one of the main storylines after the game was the five new players who are on that list, all of which were unable to return to Monday night’s surreal overtime loss.
WR Emmanuel Sanders (rib), RB Matt Breida (ankle), DL Ronald Blair (knee), DL D.J. Jones (groin) and LB Azeez Al-Shaair (head), joined TE George Kittle as the list of starters that enter this week with their immediate futures up in the air.
Sanders, Blair and Jones will all receive MRIs tomorrow according to Kyle Shanahan, while Al-Shaair is in the concussion protocol.
Blair’s situation looks the most dire. The defensive end — who despite uneven playing time is ranked as the 23rd best edge defender in the NFL via Pro Football Focus — was on crutches in the locker room while wearing a knee brace and received hugs from multiple teammates. There is a fear that his season could be in jeopardy.
Monday’s loss showed why the 49ers can ill afford to lose Sanders for an extended period of time. San Francisco was consistently let down by it’s receivers, who nearly cost them the game a number of times over. With Jones out, Sheldon Day will take over as the starting nose tackle.
The 49ers should have updates on all five players on Tuesday or Wednesday.