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Dee Ford’s goals are proving to be wholly unattainable. In 2019, the 49ers’ big-name acquisition played just 22 percent of the defense’s snaps, as quad/knee tendinitis limited him to a third-down role and caused him to miss five games. He had said, early in the year, that the issue would be “put to bed,” during the season.
Ford, Reed to IR
It took until after the season for Ford to see Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Florida for what was termed and “pretty extensive” knee cleanup for something which is rarely treated operatively.
Entering training camp, Ford expressed confidence at achieving his one goal of staying healthy. He quickly picked up a calf strain and missed the majority of camp, but returned for the season opener.
“I’ll definitely be a full participant all season,” Ford said. “That’s my goal. As far as how I feel, it feels really good right now just working in football shape. Dr. [James] Andrews did a great job this offseason cleaning me up, getting me right. I’ve been working, even through these weird times, been working all offseason. Now it’s just about getting in football shape. But as far as 11 on 11, I plan on being in all that all year.”
By Week 2, Ford was out, first termed a neck injury and then described as a back injury. He has a serious back injury history, with a disc issue which could have compromised his ability to walk.
After two weeks of remaining on the active roster but not playing, he’ll be placed on injured reserve, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan, along with Jordan Reed (MCL sprain). Mark Nzeocha (quad strain) was placed on IR on Wednesday.
Samuel, Garoppolo, other injuries and what comes next
Below is the #49ers’ full practice report:
Did not practice:
- Dee Ford (back)
- Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle)
- Dre Greenlaw (quadricep)
- Emmanuel Moseley (concussion)
- Raheem Mostert (knee)
- Jordan Reed (knee)
- K’Waun Williams (hip)
- George Kittle (knee)
- Jerick McKinnon (ribs)
- Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring)
George Kittle was a “full go” according to Shanahan, but the 49ers won’t give him full reps.
Deebo Samuel opened his three-week return window off injured reserve. He’s returned to practice, discernibly without limitations and can and must be promoted to the active roster at any point in the next 21 days or be returned to IR for the remainder of the season.
Shanahan said he need to see him in an actual football setting to determine his availability Sunday.
“He’s healthy, so we just want to see him out there and get back in the swing of playing football. It’s been awhile since he has. I know he’s been working hard on his own with football and everything and with our trainers and everyone else with the rehab. We just need to see him go through three days and what type of shape he’s in and if he can protect himself, he’ll be out there.”
Garoppolo, meanwhile, didn’t practice Wednesday and his status is in question for Sunday. Shanahan suggested he’ll have to be able to get into “awkward positions” without worry of being injured, which might indicate he’s leaning towards the doubtful side. He said he’s hoping to get Garoppolo out to at least one practice this week, and suggested he won’t be able to play him if that doesn’t happen.
“He’s just got to be able to be healthy in terms of he can run around and protect himself, make throws,” Shanahan said. “Anytime you’re dealing with an ankle, you might feel all right when you’re standing there, but can you move around and get into the awkward positions without hurting yourself? That’s really what we’d have to see. It would be tough for us to see that and truly judge that if he didn’t get into practice.”
What do those injuries and the injured reserve designations mean for this week? Expect the following moves:
- Jordan Reed, Dee Ford → Injured reserve
- Deebo Samuel → Active roster
- JaMycal Hasty, Joe Walker → Game day practice squad promotions
No quarterback controversy
Apparently, some folks have suggested that Nick Mullens could replace Jimmy Garoppolo if he continues to play well. That won’t happen, unless Garoppolo returns as the second coming of Rex Grossman, which isn’t going to happen.
Shanahan attempted to put that speculation to rest when asked if Mullens could win the starting job.
“No, that scenario doesn’t exist, but I don’t think past one game either,” Shanahan said. “So, that’s for you to do, but this is Jimmy’s team. He’s done a hell of a job for us and when he’s healthy, he’ll be playing again for us.”