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49ers take steps forward, back as multiple returns confirmed, but Ford heads to injured reserve



Photo by Michael Zagaris – 49ers, courtesy Getty Images

As is typical with 49ers injury news, things are rarely wholly good or wholly bad. Such is the case on Saturday, as the team confirmed a trio of returning players, while also getting substantially thinner at defensive line, a group which seemed comically deep to begin the season.

The following comes from the 49ers:

The following players have been activated from the Injured Reserve List:

Pos.        Number             Name                           

K              9                         Robbie Gould

TE           85                       George Kittle

The following player has been activated from the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List:

Pos.        Number             Name                           

RB           22                       Jeff Wilson Jr.

The following players have been activated from the team’s practice squad (standard elevations):

Pos.        Number             Name                           

LB            53                       Tyrell Adams

S              35                       Tony Jefferson II

The following player has been placed on the Injured Reserve List:

Pos.        Number             Name                           

DL           55                       Dee Ford

The following player have been waived:

Pos.        Number             Name                           

DL           92                       Zach Kerr

George Kittle and Jeff Wilson Jr. are obvious boons to the offense, and Wilson Jr., despite only practicing three times this year, could be called upon on Sunday if Elijah Mitchell, who has a rib injury, cannot play, or has to be limited in his reps.

Kyle Shanahan said the 49ers would prefer to give Wilson Jr. more time before bringing him back into the fold, but may not be able to afford that luxury, despite having Trey Sermon, JaMycal Hasty and Trenton Cannon all healthy.

One wonders how Sermon fell so far out of favor with Shanahan, but that’s a topic for another time.

The other major point of note here is Dee Ford going on injured reserve with a back injury. It’s the same injury which nearly ended his career in Kansas City before costing him nearly the entirety of the 2020 season. He’s been playing limited reps thus far and was out last week with a suspected concussion, but Shanahan said this week that the concussion-related symptoms may have actually stemmed from his back injury.

Ford would be eligible to return in three weeks, but given how unpredictable the back is and his history of back injuries, there is no way to know what his timetable is. He could just as easily return in three weeks as be out for the season.

The release of Zach Kerr also indicates his struggles this season after what seemed like an impressive training camp. San Francisco’s defensive line group has lost Javon Kinlaw, Maurice Hurst, Ford and now Kerr over the last few weeks, and may turn to second-year practice squad defensive tackle Darrion Daniels in upcoming weeks.

Tony Jefferson also provides a veteran safety option at a position decimated by injuries this season, which was initially very deep. San Francisco lost Tarvarius Moore in OTAs, and has lost Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Kai Nacua over the last few weeks, leaving rookie Talanoa Hufanga, Tavon Wilson and Jefferson to hold down the fort.