SANTA CLARA — At his Monday press conference, head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed the 49ers have added their 16th and 17th players to the season-ending Injured Reserve list, and will add an 18th player to IR later during the week.
Safety Jaquiski Tartt went on IR with a broken wrist he suffered Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Rookie tight end Cole Hikutini also went on IR with a Grade 3 MCL sprain he suffered playing special teams against the Cardinals. And offensive tackle Garry Gilliam will go on IR with a Grade 3 MCL sprain he suffered against the Philadelphia Eagles.
And that’s just the beginning of the 49ers’ injury list.
“It’s long,” Shanahan said. “Can’t remember it all. Got it written down.”
Here are the new injuries:
Eight 49ers players left the Cardinals game, and five did not return. Tartt and Hikutini were two of the players who didn’t return. The others were fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who injured his neck, linebacker Elijah Lee, who injured his knee, and wide receiver Trent Taylor, who broke a rib.
“(Taylor) was complaining about some soreness in his ribs,” Shanahan said. “He made an awkward cut, and you can see it on tape — he reached for his ribs and fell and ended up breaking one. We’re hoping to get him back after the bye week.”
Taylor is the 49ers’ primary slot receiver, and he will not play Sunday against the New York Giants. He may return Nov. 26 when the 49ers play the Seattle Seahawks.
Who will replace Taylor in the slot?
“We’re going to have to do it by committee,” Shanahan said. “We’re going to have to move a couple guys in there, move a few guys around. No one has truly just owned that position like Trent has. Other guys are capable of doing it. Cole (Hikutini) would have been a good guy there, using a tight end at that spot. Lost him, too, so we’re going to have to adjust with the guys that we have.”
Like Taylor, Elijah Lee definitely won’t play against the Giants. Juszczyk will be a game-time decision.
The three players who left the Cardinals game but returned were linebacker Reuben Foster, center Daniel Kilgore and tight end George Kittle. All three injured ankles. Foster and Kilgore should play against the Giants, but Kittle will not. He’s out.
“I could tell watching him throughout the game that he was struggling,” Shanahan said. “We lost him for a little bit. It was the second play of the game. He had an explosive pass, he got tackled and they rolled up on his ankle.
“They were afraid his fibula was broken, so they took him in for X-rays. He said he could go, and he went out there and he allowed us to function. I have a great deal of respect for him doing what he did.”
The 49ers are at the level of just trying to function. They’re at the level of trying to put a team on the field.
Fielding a team won’t be so easy this Sunday. Nine players on the 53-man roster may not be healthy enough to play. Those players are Kittle, Taylor, Juszczyk, Lee, defensive ends Solomon Thomas (knee) and Aaron Lynch (calf), nose tackle D.J. Jones (knee), cornerback K’Waun Williams (quadriceps) and offensive tackle Joe Staley (eye).