At long last, Arik Armstead will make his return. It’s been an arduous recovery process for the 49ers’ interior lynchpin.
After injury woes early in his career, Armstead had boasted four-straight years of an impeccable injury record coming into this season. He missed Week 3 with what was initially just deemed plantar fasciitis, and has been out since Week 4 with plantar fasciitis in one foot and a hairline/stress fracture in the other ankle.
But on Thursday, Armstead told reporters that he’s back.
If he can stay healthy, it is an enormous boon to a defensive interior which has missed both of its starters in Armstead and Javon Kinlaw for the majority of the season. Kinlaw remains on injured reserve and could return later this season, but no update has been given in recent weeks.
While the likes of Kevin Givens, Hassan Ridgeway, J.T. McGill and others have performed admirably, none of them boast the pass rushing chops or double-team-eating capabilities that Armstead possesses. His return should create more pressure for 49ers team currently tied for eighth with 33 sacks on the season.
He wasn’t the only one to provide positive injury news on Thursday. Spencer Burford, who missed Wednesday’s practice with a sprained ankle, and Charles Omenihu, who missed with a knee injury, both returned to the field on Thursday.
Jimmy Garoppolo brought out a fan-favorite line when asked about his knee, saying, “Feels great, baby.”
But the other headliner was Christian McCaffrey, who dealt with knee irritation on Sunday and missed a few plays. He was back on the field on Thursday and told reporters he will play against the Dolphins.
“I feel great,” McCaffrey said.
The only other question was Deebo Samuel, who was not seen in the portion of practice made open to reporters and did not practice Thursday. He’s been dealing with a quadricep injury and was limited on Wednesday