SANTA CLARA — Merely six days before their upcoming game against the Detroit Lions, the 49ers don’t know who their right guard will be.
It’s a big deal not to know who your right guard will be.
The 49ers lost both their starting right guard (Mike Person) and backup right guard (Joshua Garnett) Sunday during the 24-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. The 49ers fear neither will be ready for the next game.
“I know it’s going to be a big topic this week,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said during his Monday afternoon press conference. “We’ve got a foot strain for Person. Garnett dislocated his toe. We don’t know how long it’s going to be. The good news is nothing is broken with either of them. No I.R. or anything, but we’ve got to see how they respond to treatment during the week to have an idea of whether they have a chance this week, and going forward week to week after that. We need a few more days to understand that.”
Person’s injury occurred Sunday with 9:08 remaining in the second quarter, when center Weston Richburg tripped and fell on Person’s left foot. Person covered his face as he lay on the ground for a minute, then he got up and walked off the field, but did not return to the game. Garnett replaced him, and played the rest of the second quarter at right guard.
Four seconds into the third quarter, Garnett went down.
Running back Matt Breida had just run for a one-yard gain. At the end of the play, Garnett started limping, then sat down and screamed and pounded the turf with his fist as trainers popped his toe back into place.
Garnett could not walk off the field — he was in too much pain. So, the 49ers carted him off.
Monday after Shanahan’s press conference, The Press Democrat spotted Garnett standing outside the team’s facility as he waited for a ride. He still could hardly move, and walked with a significant limp. Garnett is a former 2016 first-round pick who missed all of last season and most of training camp with a knee injury. Durability is an issue for him.
After Garnett left the game, Shanahan had to move rookie right tackle Mike McGlinchey to right guard – a position he never had played. Shanahan was out of options.
“I was so impressed with McGlinchey,” Shanahan said. “By no means did he play perfect. But, losing all those guys and having to plug someone in at guard, it was just neat to see how he reacted to it on the sideline. It was his first NFL game, he had never played guard and you could see there was nothing about him that was scared to go try it. He knew he had to do it, and he didn’t flinch at all. Went in there and competed, did the best he could and did a pretty good job. There were a couple mistakes, as expected, but it was not too big for him. Him going there, he gave us a chance to come back and win that game.”
McGlinchey probably won’t have to play right guard again on Sunday.
If Person and Garnett can’t go, the 49ers could start Erik Magnuson, who missed Week 1 with a hamstring injury. But he may not be healthy next week, either.