Good morning folks, as we inch towards the 49ers’ first preseason game, the injuries have seemingly begun to pile on. Between re-aggravations and new injuries, the list of those who are in question for, at least, the first preseason game continues to grow. In some cases, a silver lining can be found where promising depth options are given reps that would’ve been otherwise unavailable - but in other cases, players’ futures with the team are being directly impacted.
Of course, most fans are keeping a close eye on the situation with Joshua Garnett. After a collision last week, Garnett has been held out due to discomfort with his right knee - the same one that landed him on injured reserve for the entire 2017 season. His MRI last week came back showing no structural damage, and the team cleared him for activity. However, he has kept himself sidelined, while seeking a second opinion. It is reported that he is prepared to sit out for multiple weeks to allow his knee to heal fully - which could have quite an impact on his role with the team for the upcoming season. Veteran guard Jonathan Cooper was signed this offseason as competition on the right side, and has been activated from the PUP list, but has yet to take part in 11-on-11 work. It was expected that these two would be the frontrunners for a starting gig, but injuries have not allowed this (so far).
The secondary has also seen it’s fair share of injury woes, although it can be argued that there’s serious talent and/or upside down the depth chart. The injuries have exclusively affected veterans who, to some extent, are known quantities - and their sidelining has led to valuable experience for the young guys behind them, especially the rookies. CBs Jimmie Ward and Richard Sherman are both dealing with hamstring issues, which are not expected to be serious, but have led to increased reps for rookie S-to-CB convert Tarvarius Moore. Although it’s assumed that his conversion will take time, getting some extra practice in early should only help things.
Furthermore, K’Waun Williams went down with an ankle injury on Sunday. Had Ward not been already injured, we might have had an opportunity to learn more about the scope of his role with the team - whether or not he’s considered a primary backup as a nickel corner, along with outside CB/FS duties. Rookie DJ Reed was given the reps instead, and by all accounts, had a great practice working with the ones.
Arik Armstead continues to remain out, and is considered “week to week”. It’s a virtual certainty that he’ll miss the first preseason game, if not more. The TE depth chart has taken a hit, with Cole Wick and Cole Hikutini both expected to miss time. Since Hikutini’s priority signing as a free agent following the 2017 draft, there have been modest expectations floating around that he would eventually contribute. Lastly, Fred Warner is temporarily out with a chest injury. He’s considered “day to day”, and there has been no word on whether or not he’ll miss Thursday’s game against the Cowboys.
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