San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan provided an injury update on a conference call late Tuesday afternoon.
Christian McCaffrey won’t practice this week with a calf strain. Shanahan said that McCaffrey would return to practice next week.
Team captains George Kittle and Arik Armstead will return to practice this week. Kittle is doing “much better” with his back spasms. Armstead is “looking good.”
We never received the specifics about Armstead’s injury. Shanahan has always referred to it as either a knee or a foot. Kyle still wouldn’t commit to an injury when asked if Arik had plantar fasciitis:
“I just know it’s his foot and his knee. I don’t know how to pronounce that word you just said. He’s doing better. He looked good today and that was the test and that’s why we’re going to get him into practice Thursday and hopefully it goes well and we’ll get him in a little bit Friday.”
Clinching the No. 1 seed a week early helped Armstead earn an extra week of rest. Shanahan said he could have played in Week 18 if the game was meaningful. Here’s Kyle’s answer on if there was a concern about Armstead’s injury lingering into the playoffs:
“Oh yeah, always. That’s why we’ve been trying to give him as much rest as possible. He would’ve gone last week if we needed that. That’s why we were really pumped that we were able to get that, so he didn’t have to go last week. So just giving him this extra week, he’s better right now than he was a week ago at this time. So hopefully that extra week we’ll give him enough to ease back into this and make him even better a week from now.”
The team will “be smart” with Dre Greenlaw, who said out of Week 18 with Achilles tendonitis.
Wide receiver Jauan Jennings has been in the concussion protocol since entering Week 16. Shanahan said Jennings and starting cornerback Ambry Thomas officially cleared and will return to practice. Thomas had surgery on his hand that caused him to miss Week 18.
Edge rusher Clelin Ferrell will miss a few weeks due to a knee injury he suffered in Week 18 against the Los Angeles Rams. Shanahan said, “It’s possible to get him back sometime in the playoffs.” Later, Shanahan said Ferrell would miss at least one game.
Shanahan was asked what Drake Jackson’s situation was and if he was close to returning from the injured reserve, but Shanahan said that Jackson wasn’t ready: “I don’t think he’s healthy enough to come off yet. I don’t think that’s an option right now.”
Starting safeties Tashaun Gipson and Ji’Ayir Brown will return to practice this week. Brown had the final two games of the regular season with a knee injury, while Gipson sat out last week with a quad strain.
The Niners will also open the practice window for George Odum, who suffered a torn biceps against the Seahawks in Week 12. Odum tied for eighth in the NFL in special teams tackles despite missing the season's final six games.
It’s important to acknowledge that just because the 49ers open Odum’s window doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to return. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero initially reported a 2-4 month injury on November 24. The 49ers’ first game would be a few days shy of two months.
Odum is one of the most impactful special teams players in the conference. It would be a significant boost to have him back on the field.
And the final news relating to safeties: Tayler Hawkins debuted in Brown’s absence but is set to have surgery for his wrist injury.
Offensive lineman Jon Feliciano is day-to-day with a back injury.