49ers lose another offensive starter to injury
SANTA CLARA — The 49ers aren’t losing games but they keep losing starters to injury, and Wednesday brought surprising news that right tackle Mike McGlinchey will undergo minor surgery on his right knee.
Arthroscopic surgery Thursday will sideline McGlinchey four to six weeks, the first games he’ll have missed in his career. He is believed to have sustained cartilage damage in Monday night’s 31-3 win over the Cleveland Browns, not long after fullback Kyle Juszczyk suffered a sprained knee that will keep him out four to six weeks.
In the preceding two wins, left tackle Joe Staley (fractured fibula) and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (sprained foot) went down with four-to-six-week injuries, and because these starters at least dodged a season-ending issue, the 49ers would have to cut someone else from the roster for potential replacements.
“We’ve got a decent record right now, we’ve got to keep it going, so hopefully when they come back, they’re part of something,” said coach Kyle Shanahan, whose 49ers (4-0) visit the Los Angeles Rams (3-2) on Sunday.
For now, first-year tackle Daniel Brunskill will replace McGlinchey, as he did for six snaps Monday once Shanahan pulled a reluctant McGlinchey from the rout.
“He didn’t want to go out because he didn’t think he was that hurt or was after the game,” Shanahan said. “When we checked it out, it was a surprise to him, a surprise to all of us.”
Justin Skule has fared well through two starts in place of Staley. Sam Young is the only other tackle and he’s been inactive through two games on the roster.
As was the case upon Staley’s Sept. 15 injury, Shanahan downplayed the potential for swinging a trade, especially with the most logical target, Trent Williams, who’s yet to report to Washington this season.
“Things have got to be available. You can’t be held for ransom,” Shanahan said. “You have to make a smart decision. If there was a smart decision out there, we’d definitely look into it. But it doesn’t seem any are available out there.”
Look for the 49ers to deploy a couple options at fullback as they deal with Juszczyk. The leading in-house option is Ross Dwelley, a backup tight end, but the 49ers also could summon George Kittle if needed, or perhaps a wide receiver on certain plays. Also, defensive tackle Sheldon Day likely will come in to block on the goal-line package, Shanahan said.
Seven fullbacks tried out Wednesday but none were signed.
Garrison Sanborn’s debut as long snapper yielded three missed field goals by Robbie Gould, and Shanahan said only one bad snap was to blame. Also on special teams, Shanahan said Richie James needed to catch more punts.
Sherman says ‘my bad’
Cornerback Richard Sherman said he owes Baker Mayfield an apology for mistakenly claiming the Browns quarterback did not shake his hand at the pregame coin flip.
“It’s definitely my bad,” Sherman said on “The Pat McAfee Show” on DAZN. “I never would want anybody to have to deal with (stuff) they didn’t do. The questions he’s going to get and the annoying, nonsense questions about stuff that happened in a game that’s already been done, sure, he’ll get an apology for that. I’ll probably reach out to him via text or social media to get a hold of him to talk to him on the phone.
“He definitely deserves an apology. My bad on that.”