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Lynch: Ford came in with neck stiffness; his status is uncertain for Sunday

Lynch isn’t ruling out Kittle, but admitted the team has to be smart with their star tight end

San Francisco 49ers Training Camp Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch hopped on KNBR’s Murph & Mac show to discuss some injury updates as well as some performances from Week 1. The big concern remains Dee Ford, who Lynch said, “came in with neck stiffness, and we sent him for imaging. We are waiting to hear those results this morning.” Lynch is unsure about Ford’s status for Sunday’s game against the Jets. That’s....not great. The 49ers dealt with Ford’s injuries last season, and that affected players like Nick Bosa. With no Ford on the field Sunday, it’ll allow the Jets to double team Bosa and force someone else to beat them. We’ll see if Ford suits up and how long this injury lingers.

Lynch would not rule out George Kittle for Sunday’s game but said Kittle would be a game-time decision, and the team must be smart with Kittle. Lynch said the team would see if Kittle practices on Friday and how the flight across the country will impact his knee swelling.

“He did sprain his knee. Is it out of the question that he plays? No. George is obviously very important, and George is one of those guys who’s going to want to play every time, so we have to be very judicious. But that’s not to say we’re ruling it out. I don’t know how much he’s going to try to do. I think it truly will be a game-time decision for George. He’s so important to us. We’ve really got to be smart. That could be being smart, and he finds a way to play. It could be we decide to wait another week.”

Based on his words and tone, it sounds like Kittle is closer to doubtful against the Jets.

Ahkello Witherspoon has cleared the concussion protocol. Lynch said Witherspoon would start in place of Richard Sherman and play the “field” cornerback spot. Robert Saleh explained the difference between “field” and “boundary” cornerback. The field cornerback won’t get nearly as many opportunities as he’s going to the wide side of the field, but he has to be great with his eyes and route recognition. That’s why a player like Sherman is a good fit for the field.

Lynch said Ben Garland will be a game-time decision as he is still nursing a high-ankle sprain. He said the team is “hoping” to get Garland back, but he also singled-out center Hroniss Grasu saying, “he graded out well in our system.” I thought Grasu was the second-best lineman behind Trent Williams as he only missed two blocks against the run and didn’t miss a single block in pass protection. Grasu wasn’t among PFF’s top-five graded players for the 49ers. Here’s Lynch on Garland:

“I think we’re going to kind of let that one play out. That’s another one that on these plane rides, sometimes, you get there and it doesn’t feel so good. He’ll be probably moving towards game-time (decision).”

Lynch said he was happy with the offensive line’s performance as a whole and said they played pretty well: “I really thought the O-line, in general, played pretty well. I thought some of the sack issues were due to holding onto the ball.”

As for the New York Jets, they ruled out Jamison Crowder, who was targeted 13 times during Week 1. Sam Darnold’s supporting cast on Sunday will be:

RB: Frank Gore, Kalen Ballage, and maybe La’Mical Perine

WR: Breshad Perriman, Chris Hogan, Braxton Berrios

TE: Chris Herndon

Sunday should be a perfect “get right” game for the 49ers.