Injuries will keep some 49ers out until season starts
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.