49ers guard Joshua Garnett went down with a knee injury and has been expected back for several days. Kyle Shanahan said he’d be surprised if Garnett didn’t return for Thursday’s practice and Garnett still hasn’t hit the field then, or Friday’s practice.
At his post-practice press conference Friday, Shanahan said, “there is concern.” Shanahan confirmed the injury was to the same knee that Garnett had surgery on in 2017, a procedure that kept him on IR for the entire season.
At this time, Garnett will be seeking second opinions and getting some additional tests on his knee. His absence leaves the right guard competition wide open. Jonathan Cooper has been recovering from his own injury and Garnett’s issues will allow him a chance to really compete for that spot. And there is a competition for right guard. Shanahan never mentioned left guard, which further establishes that Laken Tomlinson is going to be the starting left guard coming into it. Eric Magnuson and Mike Person will also be competing for the right guard spot, but the 49ers need someone to rise up in a big way, be it Garnett or any of the other aforementioned names.
Given Garnett’s lack of playing time and his injury issues, this is not helping his stock. If anyone needs practice, it’s the newer guys, and with him out a season, these practice reps are crucial. If this were a proven veteran guard, it wouldn’t be so much of an issue, but Garnett is still an unknown in this league. Every day he misses, it allows someone else to get a grip on that guard spot. I saw Cooper as beginning at the backup role given his injury and even less experience in Shanahan’s system, but now he has a legit shot at getting the starting job.
Hopefully Garnett can zero in on the issues and get back to work.