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It’s the matchup we’ve all been waiting for. All year, the tension has been palpable, building at a plodding pace to finally reach this long-awaited clash. It’s time folks. It’s Aaron Donald versus Colton McKivitz.
Jokes aside, there is no more quintessential make-or-break way to get your first career start. The 49ers’ fifth-round pick out of West Virginia, who transitioned, as some surveyors of the draft anticipated, from tackle to guard, will be thrown up against the league’s widely-accepted best defensive player.
McKivitz is getting his chance because Tom Compton suffered a concussion… in walkthroughs. Head coach Kyle Shanahan was perhaps as flummoxed as the rest of us, saying it wasn’t noticed at practice.
“It was unfortunate because it was a walkthrough, ended up getting a concussion,” Shanahan said. “We didn’t notice it out at practice or anything because we were going at half speed, but he reported it after.”
The 49ers have steadily been increasing McKivitz’s playing time, getting him in for 37 percent of the offense’s snaps (21 snaps) against Green Bay, and a handful of series against the Saints, when he played 32 percent of total offensive snaps (23 snaps).
McKivitz had one egregious mistake on the fourth down rushing attempt by Jerick McKinnon, when he went the wrong way. Aside from being beaten on one pass set, he was otherwise solid in pass protection.
— Jake Hutchinson (@hutchdiesel) November 15, 2020
There is some uncertainty regarding who can return off the Reserve/COVID-19 list by Sunday, but Shanahan did not seem optimistic that anyone else, besides perhaps Trent Williams, could return by Sunday. Shanahan said there was “an outside chance” Williams could come off the list by Sunday and later clarified that it was “not a great chance.”
Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw and Hroniss Grasu were all activated from the list this week.
At this point it looks likely that the remaining six players on the list in Trent Williams, Brandon Aiyuk, D.J. Jones, Joe Walker, Daniel Helm and Jordan Willis will not play Sunday.
The following is the team’s game status report:
- RB Tevin Coleman (knee)
- G Tom Compton (concussion)
- LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (hamstring)
- CB K’Waun Williams (ankle)
- RB Tevin Coleman (ankle) – Returning from injured reserve, Shanahan said he would not play
- LB Azeez Al-Shaair (illness)
- LB Dre Greenlaw (illness)
- DT Javon Kinlaw (not injury related)
- TE Jordan Reed (illness)
- CB Richard Sherman (calf) – Returning from injured reserve, Shanahan said he would be activated, but questionable
- RB Raheem Mostert (ankle) – Returning from injured reserve, Shanahan said he would be activated, but questionable
- RB Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) – Returning from injured reserve, Shanahan said he would be activated, but questionable
- WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring) – Has no game status, will play
Because the building was closed during the bye week, the 49ers only had one real practice this week, on Wednesday. That has left Samuel and other prospective returnees with limited on-field time.