Injuries will keep some 49ers out until season starts

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SANTA CLARA — Training camp started only two weeks ago and the 49ers already have 19 injured players.

“We’re hoping they will all be available Week 1 to start the season,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said on a conference call with Bay Area reporters Friday afternoon. Then, he read the list of injured players, and took almost three minutes to finish.

He started with the six players who left Thursday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys: Defensive end Solomon Thomas, tight end George Kittle, running back Matt Breida, middle linebacker Malcolm Smith, outside linebacker Eli Harold and offensive tackle Garry Gilliam.

“Gilliam and Solomon both are in the concussion protocol,” Shanahan said, “so we’ll see how that plays out here over the next few days.”

Gilliam tried to cut-block Cowboys defensive end Kony Ealy and got kneed in the head.

Thomas tripped and got kicked in the chin by teammate Sheldon Day. After Thomas fell down, he lay motionless on the grass for more than a minute. He appeared unconscious. He and Gilliam will have to pass a series of tests before returning to practice. They may not play next Saturday in the next preseason game, against the Houston Texans.

Shanahan continued with his list. “Malcolm Smith has a hamstring injury. I do not think he will be available this week at Houston, but I think he’ll have a chance after this week. He’ll be week to week. And Eli, he’s day to day with a knee contusion.”

Harold injured his knee covering a punt during the second quarter.

Smith pulled his hamstring during the first series of the game. He was covering a receiver man-to-man, reached a full sprint and left the field one play later.

This injury is his third since signing with the 49ers in 2017. He missed the first four days of this year’s training camp with a heel injury, and all of last season with a torn pectoral muscle.

“As far as our shoulder guys,” Shanahan said, “Matt Breida and George Kittle, they both separated their shoulders. We won’t have either of them until Week 1.”

The first shoulder guy, Breida, a 200-pound running back, suffered his injury blocking 318-pound defensive lineman Antwaun Woods, who had a running start. While Breida is out, Raheem Mostert most likely will replace him as the No. 2 running back behind No. 1 running back Jerick McKinnon.

The second shoulder guy, Kittle, suffered his injury diving for an overthrown deep pass from Jimmy Garoppolo and landing hard on the ground, shoulder first. While Kittle is out, Garrett Celek almost certainly will take his place as the starting tight end.

Shanahan finished going through the new injuries, but still had 13 more players to talk about. Those were the ones who were injured before the Cowboys game.

Here were the big names:

“Richard Sherman, I have a feeling he is going to try to go,” Shanahan said, “but I would be very surprised if he plays this week. We plan on holding him out.”

Sherman suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain on Aug. 3 and hasn’t practiced since. Before the injury, the veteran cornerback played only sporadically during training camp because he was returning from two offseason Achilles surgeries.

“Arik Armstead, no,” Shanahan said.

Armstead is out with a hamstring injury. The starting defensive lineman pulled it on July 30 and will miss at least another week.

“Jonathan Cooper, we started letting him practice a little bit last week,” Shanahan said. “We will up his reps this week. We will decide about how we feel about him in a game.”

Cooper is recovering from a torn MCL. He did not play against the Cowboys. He is competing to be the starting right guard,

“Joshua Garnett, hopefully we will get some news and we can ease him into individual drills and stuff Sunday,” Shanahan said. “Hopefully, we can get him practiced fully by Houston.”

Garnett also is competing to be the starting right guard. He suffered a knee injury on the third day of training camp. The 49ers initially called the injury a contusion, but not anymore.

“I don’t think there is an exact injury,” Shanahan said. “I think you could ask him exactly about that. He had big issues last year. We knew he would coming into this year. He took an anti-inflammatory to get some of the swelling out. He feels better now than he did a week ago. I’m hoping that continues until Sunday, and he feels good enough to give it a go. And hopefully once he does that, he can put together a few practices where he hopefully can recover and his knee can handle it.”

Lots of hopefullys.

Shanahan kept going. “Fred Warner, still day to day. We’re letting his chest heal. We’ll see how he looks on Sunday, whether he can be in pads or not.”

Warner, a rookie middle linebacker, injured his chest on August 1 after running into running back Jeff Wilson Jr. during a one-on-one blocking drill.

“And then K’Waun,” Shanahan said. “Don’t expect to have K’Waun this week.”

That’s K’Waun Williams, the 49ers’ starting nickel back, who sprained his ankle in practice on Sunday.

Shanahan stopped talking. The line went silent as reporters waited for more names. He finally had reached the end of the list. Maybe next time he can actually concentrate on football.

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