The 49ers returned to practice for a tune-up before their Sunday night matchup against the Colts. Unfortunately, they were without defensive tackles Javon Kinlaw and Maurice Hurst — arguably the two most important defensive tackles.
The Athletic’s Matt Barrows said Hurst was seen in the parking lot wearing a walking boot. Kinlaw hasn’t practiced all week which would indicate he had another setback. Hurst suffered a “pretty bad” calf injury, per Kyle Shanahan, and will miss 4-8 weeks. He’ll go on the injured reserve.
As for Kinlaw, it’s a serious injury. Shanahan said Kinlaw’s a candidate to go on the injured reserve. Shanahan mentioned he’s “worried about, concerned about” and also added he’s “definitely” worried as he overemphasized the severity of Kinlaw’s knee injury.
Kinlaw has been on a light workload during the past couple of weeks during practice, and he was playing through the pain. Now, the week-to-week management is out of the window, and the 49ers will likely shut Kinlaw down for good — for how long remains to be seen.
That leaves D.J. Jones, who is a workhorse against the run and expends an unreasonable amount of energy fighting double teams. Nevertheless, Jones has been excellent this year. He has 11 solo tackles with an average depth of 1.6, with two of those going for a loss. Jones also has a sack, a quarterback hit, and a few hurries.
Outside of Jones, There’s Kentavius Street and Zach Kerr. Don’t be surprised if Darrion Daniels is flexed from the practice squad. Kevin Givens is out for another week.
I’d kick Arik Armstead inside and either live in nickel defense or stay in base defense and let Arden Key/Samson Ebukam play heavier snaps. You invested about $4 million in Ebukam this season for moments like this. Also, you’re paying Armstead, who has played well this season, to be flexible and win at multiple positions.
Trent Williams also missed practice for the third day in a row. Shanahan said Williams’ injury happened during the Cardinals’ game. The 49ers and Williams didn’t think it was that bad coming out of the game, but the star left tackle “dinged” it in Monday’s “bonus” practice.
Offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel gave praise to rookie left tackle Jaylon Moore on Thursday after practice. Moore will have a chance to prove himself against a Colts defense that blitzes at the same rate as the 49ers, only 20% of the time.
According to the beat writers on-hand at practice, there was no sign of rookie quarterback Trey Lance. You could read the tea leaves and see that Lance wasn’t playing in this game right away. That means Nate Sudfeld will be the backup quarterback for the second game in a row. This time, behind Jimmy Garoppolo.
Raise your hand if you thought that’s how the quarterback rotation would go once the 49ers elevated Sudfeld to the active roster.
Here’s the 49ers final injury report:
DT Maurice Hurst
DT Javon Kinlaw
QB Trey Lance
LT Trent Williams
LB Marcell Harris
Harris had been starting at SAM linebacker. If he can’t go, that means Mychal Kendricks starts in his place.
Garoppolo said on Wednesday that he made some strides with his injury, and “right now, it feels great.” Two days later, and he’s off the injury report. That’s a great sign for the 49ers, knowing they won’t have a hobbled Garoppolo in poor weather conditions. Garoppolo’s mobility has been impressive this season. Let’s hope he won’t need to use his legs Sunday night.
JaMycal Hasty (ankle) will be activated off IR after practicing this week
The Colts have ruled out:
CB Rock Ya-Sin (ankle)
S Julian Blackmon (Achilles)
DE Kemoko Turay (groin)
OL Braden Smith (foot, thumb)
RB Jordan Wilkins (non-football injury)
Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (quadriceps) is questionable.