In almost any other season over last 30-plus years, the San Francisco 49ers would already have clinched their spot in the playoffs. But the 17-game NFL schedule is here, and that means that it comes down to the final game.
The 49ers can clinch their spot with either a win in Los Angeles or a New Orleans Saints loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the latter of which seems less likely. Just as it was in 2019, the regular season will end with a high-stakes division game.
With those stakes in mind, every injury status looms a little bit larger. On Monday, Kyle Shanahan provided multiple injury updates and some Reserve/COVID-19 list additions.
Shanahan said that Dontae Johnson, K’Waun Williams and Raheem Mostert will all be placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Punter Mitch Wishnowsky was the first 49ers player to be added to the list last week, but was able to return for Sunday’s game thanks to the NFL’s updated protocols, which allow players to test out protocols, and also adhered to the new five-day quarantine period that the CDC now recommends.
That’s all to say that Johnson and Williams will have a chance to return for Sunday’s game.
Given that Johnson replaced Josh Norman at corner in the second half of the 23-7 win over the Texans, his status is especially significant. Shanahan said that it was his decision to bench Norman after a defensive pass interference, and that it is “up in the air” whether he will reclaim his starting job.
In addition to the COVID-19 list additions, there were two injuries from the game.
Marcell Harris suffered a stinger, while Trent Williams had an elbow sprain and will be “managed” throughout the week. He was relieved by Jaylon Moore late in the game on Sunday, and it sounds like he will play, but be limited in practice.
There is some more encouraging news to report. Shanahan said the following four players (all of whom are on injured reserve besides Maurice Hurst) are expected to return to practice this Wednesday.
- Mohamed Sanu (knee sprain – IR)
- Tavon Wilson (foot – IR)
- Emmanuel Moseley (ankle – IR)
- Maurice Hurst (calf)
Shanahan said both Moseley and Dre Greenlaw, whose core/groin muscle injury has nagged all year, will both have a chance to face the Rams this weekend. There were no updates on Azeez Al-Shaair or Talanoa Hufanga, both of whom have knee injuries.