San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke to the media after Friday’s walkthrough practice. Everyone wanted to know whether edge rusher Dee Ford, who John Lynch said had neck stiffness, would play. Lynch also mentioned how George Kittle’s status would be determined by how much he was able to do during Friday’s practice.
The media members who were on hand at practice said that cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon did not have a blue non-contact jersey on, which is good news for Witherspoon’s status for Sunday. Ford (neck), Kittle (knee sprain), and Jason Verrett (hamstring) were all absent from Friday’s practice. Newly signed wide receiver Mohamed Sanu practiced on Friday. I’d imagine he’ll suit up on Sunday, though it’s to be determined how much Sanu will play.
Shanahan said they weren’t willing to take any chances with George Kittle. For any other player, he would have ruled them out earlier, but Kittle has shown the team he’s able to play through pain. If it would’ve been a home game, Kittle might’ve had a chance to go, but for now, he’ll remain in Santa Clara and rehab for additional time before meeting the team in West Virginia next week. Shanahan is hopeful Kittle will play Week 3 against the Giants. The positive sign here is that Kittle did not have any setbacks.
George Kittle was off the field for 24% of San Francisco's offensive snaps last season.— Sports Info Solutions (@SportsInfo_SIS) September 18, 2020
EPA/60 Plays with vs without Kittle
Passing: 8 / 3
Rushing: 2 / -8 pic.twitter.com/c732tjvrMG
Shanahan hasn’t decided if the team will have five wide receivers on Sunday yet. He said Sanu “lined up with confidence” and didn’t make any mistakes. If the 49ers do decide to go with an extra receiver, Sanu would be the fifth.
Shanahan on Ford: “Yesterday, it was just neck spasms, so we rested him. Today, he met with guys to make sure it’s safe, so that’s why it’s questionable.”
Here is the injury report:
TE George Kittle (knee)
CB Jason Verrett (hammy)
WR Richie James (IR)
CB Sherman (IR)
DE Dee Ford (neck)
EXPECTED TO PLAY
WR Brandon Aiyuk (hammy)
C Ben Garland (ankle)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (cleared concussion protocol)