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Kyle Shanahan expecting multiple returns by Week 1, but center and right guard spots still unclear

Photo Credit: 49ers – Terrell Lloyd


Roster cuts are due on September 5 at 1 p.m. PT, but the 49ers already know who they’re going to keep. At least, assuming no one else gets injured, they have a fairly solid idea of what the roster is, head coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday.

The team is using Wednesday, a third practice in Levi’s Stadium, as another attempt to work through the idiosyncrasies of synthetic crowd noise and the issues of a quiet game, like snap counts.

Shanahan said George Kittle would “get out there” on Wednesday, after missing the past four practices with hamstring tightness. Per Matt Barrows of The Athletic, he was joined by Ross Dwelley in going through the team’s warmups.

As for the remaining absentees — Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring strain), Nick Bosa (leg muscle strain), Dee Ford (calf tightness), Ben Garland (ankle), Dre Greenlaw (concussion protocol), Kyle Juszczyk (hamstring strain), Deebo Samuel (Jones fracture), Richie James Jr. (wrist fracture), Fred Warner (reserve/COVID-19 list) — there is some promising news, or at least expectations on key returns.

Both Bosa and Ford are expected to be active for Week 1. Shanahan said, “I’ll be very surprised if they’re not ready to go for Week 1.”

As for Aiyuk and Samuel, Shanahan said he’s, “hoping to get both of those guys back next week.” He did however, admit there’s a bit of a learning curve that Aiyuk, Samuel, Jauan Jennings especially and even the short-notice veterans like Tavon Austin will have to go through due to limited time with the team.

While Shanahan said the team has “an idea” of the players they want to retain on the 53-man roster, one wrinkle still being worked out is the status of Ben Garland, who Shanahan said the team didn’t “know the health” of, yet. Garland won’t attempt to return until next week, which means he’d be on an abbreviated return timeline for Week 1, even if he does get back healthy in time.

That leaves Daniel Brunskill, who’s taken the lion’s share of snaps at center, as your maybe, possibly, probably starting center in Week 1. Shanahan said he genuinely doesn’t know what the situation at guard and center looks like, with the competition between Brunskill and Garland effectively on hold while Brunskill works at center.

One wrinkle Shanahan mentioned somewhat offhandedly, is that Jordan Reed has been working through recovering from undisclosed injuries which appear to be non-concussion related. Reed has an extensive injury history outside of his seven diagnosed concussions, most recently series of toe injuries culminating in a fracture.

“I’m excited for Jordan,” Shanahan said. “He hasn’t been out there consistently yet. He’s trying to still battle back from some things, but when he’s done a good job and we’re gonna keep trying to push him to get out there more.”

At this point, K’Waun Williams, who returned to practice on Monday, appears like he’ll be full-go for the home opener on September 13 against the Arizona Cardinals.

 

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