Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Maybe the 49ers weren’t meant to go to the East Coast. As someone who grew up in New Jersey, it’s not always welcoming to folks from the West Coast, but there’s been a particular sense of foreboding and unwelcomeness since the team departed (late) for that other coast.
It began Friday when the team’s plane was delayed. Why, you ask? Because someone, discernibly an airport maintenance crew worker, crashed into and dented the team’s plane. So, the team had to relocate from the San Jose International Airport to San Francisco International Airport, roughly a 30-minute drive. They were delayed, in total, by about 90 minutes, head coach Kyle Shanahan said.
When they did reach their final destination, of MetLife Field in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the 49ers were slammed with an unprecedented spate of injuries. Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas are both presumed lost for the remainder of the season, though the latter’s injury is less certain. Jimmy Garoppolo sprained his ankle and Raheem Mostert suffered an MCL sprain, both sitting for the entire second half.
But as Shanahan revealed Monday, that was not the full extent of the team’s losses. And to make matters even more bizarre, they’re still waiting on results for a number of injuries, because the MRI truck the team contracted to meet them at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia… broke down. Broken plane, broken truck, broken team.
The injury report
The 49ers got an assist from the local hospital for MRIs, getting some, but not all back. The current injury statuses are as follows:
Nick Bosa: Torn ACL, out for season
Solomon Thomas: Torn ACL, out for season
Jimmy Garoppolo: High-ankle sprain, but low severity, so will be questionable for Sunday
Raheem Mostert: MCL sprain, OUT for Sunday
Tevin Coleman: Knee sprain suffered late on Sunday, still waiting on MRI results, but presumed doubtful for Sunday. Per Adam Schefter, he’s expected to miss “multiple weeks.”
49ers’ RB Tevin Coleman is expected to miss “multiple weeks” with the knee injury he suffered Sunday, per source. So 49ers are expected to be without Coleman and Raheem Mostert on Sunday at the Giants.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 21, 2020
D.J. Jones: Ankle injury, still waiting on MRI results, presumed questionable for Sunday
Dre Greenlaw: Thigh contusion, still waiting on MRI results, presumed questionable for Sunday
Dee Ford: Started with neck spasms, but now viewed as a back injury. Presumed questionable for Sunday, but timeline is totally unclear
Jason Verrett: Expected to return to practice Wednesday for the first time this season after sustaining a hamstring strain at the end of training camp. If he practices each day this week, will likely be active for Week 3
George Kittle: MCL sprain, presumed questionable for Sunday
The corresponding moves
Given the injuries to Bosa, Ford, Thomas and now Jones, the 49ers have just five active, reliably healthy players on their defensive line in Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, Kevin Givens, Kerry Hyder and Kentavius Street.
Shanahan confirmed that the team signed Ziggy Ansah, and after he passes his COVID tests, they hope he’ll be able to practice starting Wednesday. There is also undrafted rookie nose tackle Darrion Daniels on the practice squad, who impressed in training camp, as well as Dion Jordan, who had a horrible camp.
The numbers haven’t been decided, Shanahan said due to the delayed MRIs, but a decision on promotions (likely one, if not both of Jordan and Daniels, depending on Jones and Ford’s statuses) will be made “by the end of the week.”
As for the running back situation, the 49ers are just about certain to promote JaMycal Hasty from the practice squad. Given the issues on defensive line and the new practice squad rules which allow for players to be promoted twice without leaving the practice squad, chances are one of Jordan, Daniels or Hasty will have to be signed to the active roster, rather than temporarily promoted.
There’s also the possibility of adding Devonta Freeman, who just worked out for their opponent, the New York Giants, after Saquon Barkley tore his ACL on Sunday. To review, here’s what the 49ers’ injury situation looks like next week.
Ronald Blair III
Richie James Jr.
Tim Harris Jr. (practice squad)
If you were wondering whether the 49ers felt hard done by the spate of injuries, the answer is yes.
“This was one that felt really good about the win, but we had some time to bitch a little bit about some of our unluckiness with the injuries,” Shanahan said. “Especially taking the plane ride together and being here last night hotel together. But it’s also a good challenge too.”
As for any hope of not playing at MetLife Stadium next week, it’s pretty much nonexistent. The only team which has expressed real complaints about the field have been the 49ers, with the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers, who played there the week before, saying they didn’t have issues with it. The Giants spent much of training camp on the field and had no complaints.
The Giants used MetLife Stadium extensively during training camp. Judge said there wasn’t a single negative comment from players about the turf. He said it’s a good surface.
— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) September 21, 2020
The league said the field had been inspected. In other words, the 49ers will play there again, as scheduled, next Sunday.
Here is where things stand from the NFL on the turf at MetLife Stadium. pic.twitter.com/oR0rVQz6Bx
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 21, 2020