Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
It’s Week 7 and the 49ers have climbed back to 3-3 ahead of their trip to New England. They aren’t expecting any sort of reinforcements, though, and some of their projected returnees are taking longer than expected.
Injuries: Post-bye reinforcements?
The following is the 49ers’ practice report from Wednesday:
Did not practice:
- Kwon Alexander (high ankle sprain) – It’s unclear what Alexander’s return timetable is. He could be placed on injured reserve, which would not be a surprise given that the 49ers moved Joe Walker to the active roster and signed Jonas Griffith (cut from the training camp roster) to the practice squad
- Raheem Mostert (ankle sprain) – Will “most likely” go on injured reserve according to Shanahan on Monday, meaning he’ll be out at least three weeks.
- Jaquiski Tartt (groin) – No update provided
- Trent Williams (ankle sprain) – Not a high ankle sprain, so seems unlikely to go on injured reserve, but was “in too much pain to practice” on Wednesday. He’ll be questionable on Sunday.
- Dontae Johnson (groin) – No update provided, seems on track to be available.
- Jeffery Wilson (calf) – The expectation is that he returns to play on Sunday.
- Richard Sherman (calf) – Currently in a walking boot, will not return until at least the bye week in Week 11
- Dee Ford (back) – He’s a “way’s away” from returning, and it won’t be until after the bye week at the earliest
Running back rotation
Shanahan acknowledged Wednesday that the 49ers had been running Jerick McKinnon far too often. He eventually relented on Sunday, giving nine carries (for 37 yards and two key first downs in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter) to JaMycal Hasty. Jeff Wilson Jr. is expected back for this week’s game against the Patriots.
The rotation is nebulous, but it does not seem prudent to expect McKinnon to be a bell cow back this week. Shanahan said the team has to watch McKinnon’s snap count.
“I definitely think [we need to watch his snap count],” Shanahan said. “That has an effect on all running backs and especially a guy who had those two years off, I would think it would affect him more. We didn’t do a good job of managing that in the Philly game. Jet’s up for anything and stuff, but we’ve got to do a better job of managing that and try to keep them all as fresh as possible. The more guys get banged up, the harder that is to do. So, hopefully Jeff Wilson will come back healthy this week and hopefully we’ll get three fresh guys, but we’ll see how the week of practice goes.”
Shanahan not happy about Santa Clara County’s decision
For a brief moment, there was hope that fans could return to Levi’s Stadium this year. California Governor Newsom gave the green light for 20 percent capacity at stadiums in the state, but the county of Santa Clara immediately affirmed its stance that it would not allow fans.
“Audiences at professional sporting events will not be allowed anytime soon in Santa Clara County, and theme parks will not resume operation,” the Santa Clara County Public Health Department said in a statement roughly an hour after the state’s announcement. “We must all continue to prioritize reducing the spread of COVID-19, creating conditions that will allow our businesses, schools, and other community organizations to operate safely.
“As we see COVID-19 rates rising in states across the U.S., and as we enter the winter months when risk will increase, we cannot take chances with the health and well being of our community and forfeit the many sacrifices that have been made to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
Head coach Kyle Shanahan was not particularly excited about that decision, especially given that multiple other NFL teams are allowing fans.
Shanahan disappointed in fan situation at Levi's Stadium:
"I know my family is allowed to go to restaurants right now and sit inside and socially distance there while watching the game. So hopefully, eventually, we can figure out a way to do that in our outdoor stadium." pic.twitter.com/X0HqUYwixG
— KNBR (@KNBR) October 21, 2020
“Thought we earned a lot of that and it’s been tough not to have them this year and just disappointing,” Shanahan said. “I’m real disappointed for them, our families. I understand the issues and stuff. I just hope that we can eventually figure out something.
“I know my family is allowed to go to restaurants right now and sit inside and socially distance there while watching the game. So, hopefully, eventually we can figure out a way to do that in our outdoor stadium where we can at least get some people like they are in the restaurants and stuff or worst case, at least our families because it’s a long season and people do want to be a part of that bad. I know how bad we want them to be a part of it. So, hopefully they’ll keep talking and figure out a way that they feel safe like the other places and I know it’ll help us if we do.”