Heading into the weekend, Ford was limited during the 49ers week of practices with a back injury. The veteran pass rusher has been dealing with an intricate back and neck injury that kept him sidelined for all but one game in 2020.
In San Francisco's Week 7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Ford suffered a hit in the final quarter of the game that "lit up some of his back issues", per general manager John Lynch on KNBR this week, and presented concussion-like symptoms. The conjointly related injury put the edge rusher into the concussion protocol.
"That's never fully gone away. That's something he'll deal with most likely forever," Kyle Shanahan said of Ford's lingering back issues. "So, something that's on again, off again. The reason it's mentioned for the first time, is we think it came up with this concussion. Some of the symptoms presented as a concussion last week with the hit he took, but it acted up some stuff in the back that has been bothering him this week."
Ford has appeared in six games in 2021 and has amassed 3.0 sacks, four quarterback hits and a forced fumble.
The league mandate allows players to become eligible to return from Injured Reserve after missing three games. There's no word yet on how long the 49ers expect to be without Ford. However, given the gravity of a back and neck injury, it's likely the 49ers are opting to err on the side of caution before allowing Ford to return to the field, if that is an option for the pass rusher.