49ers QB Beathard has injured thumb
SANTA CLARA — The first 49ers quarterback hurt at an injury-marred training camp is not Jimmy Garoppolo.
C.J. Beathard watched Tuesday’s practice with a wrap — possibly a soft cast — on his right thumb, which he banged into a helmet on his final play of Saturday night’s exhibition opener.
A 49ers spokesman called it a “sore” thumb, and although there was no metion of it being a long-term issue, this appears a significant setback in Beathard’s bid to beat out Nick Mullens as Garoppolo’s primary backup.
Tuesday’s other addition to the crowded injury list: tight end George Kittle (calf tightness).
Beathard repeatedly has injured that right thumb and/or wrist, triggering quarterback changes. As a rookie in 2017, he hurt it against the New York Giants, started the ensuing game and then gave way for Garoppolo’s 49ers debut. Beathard’s thumb and wrist got hurt last Oct. 28 against the Arizona Cardinals, opening the door for Mullens to start the final eight games.
Mullens started and played the first half of Saturday’s 17-9 win over the Cowboys. He completed 6-of-9 passes in Tuesday’s practice, starting with a nice pass into a tight window that Jordan Matthews dropped near the goal line.
Beathard was 13-of-17 for 141 yards with a touchdown, an interception and a sack Saturday night. He watched Tuesday’s practice with a cap on while listening to play calls with his helmet raised against his left ear. Rookie Wilton Speight took his first full-team snaps and was 3-of-3 in red zone action.
Garoppolo, meanwhile, still looks stress-free physically in his comeback from knee reconstruction, and he’s slated to start Monday night’s exhibition at Denver, presuming all goes well in this week’s practices, including joint sessions Friday and Saturday against the Broncos.
Garoppolo was 10-of-15 in 11-on-11 action Tuesday, opening with a touchdown to Marquise Goodwin and throwing one later to Dante Pettis, who broke free past Richard Sherman down the right sideline. The starting offense still had its occasional hiccups, including miscommunication with Tevin Coleman as a backfield target, although he did later catch a couple of shovel passes from Garoppolo.
Kittle battling tight calf
Kittle missed his first practice of training camp because of calf tightness. He was among 31 players the 49ers kept out of action Saturday night.
Ross Dwelley lined up as the first-string tight end and caught two wobbly passes from Garoppolo. Levine Toilolo did not practice and rookie Kaden Smith was not targeted in team drills.
Hurd stays hot
Rookie Jalen Hurd followed up Saturday’s two-touchdown debut with several impressive receptions from the slot. He scored a would-be touchdown on Speight’s final pass, then beat D.J. Reed for a pair of catches in a four-play sequence with Mullens, who capped practice by overthrowing Hurd down the sideline.
Defensive line health check
Arik Armstrong returned from a calf strain and lined up on the first-team defensive line with DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Day and Solomon Thomas. Still out are Dee Ford (knee), Nick Bosa (ankle), Ronald Blair (groin) and D.J. Jones (left knee). The second-string line featured Kentavius Street, Jullian Taylor, Kevin Givens and Damontre Moore.
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said he’s “always paranoid” about players missing time to practice, but added: “Do I think it will hinder us from still being able to get after the passer? No, I don’t think it will be too bad.