The 49ers opted to not place Kwon Alexander on Injured Reserve this week after suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 5. The linebacker was officially ruled out for Sunday's contest against the Los Angeles Rams, however, the team's decision could be an encouraging sign going forward. Although being cautious, the lack of severity with Alexander's ankle could mean a return shorter than the three-week period required if he was placed on IR.
"We don't think (IR is an option) right now," Kyle Shanahan said. "I never like to say minor high ankle sprain because ankle sprains are always a big issue, but it wasn't your typical one where they for sure are going on IR. So, that's why we haven't put him on that yet and we're hoping to keep him off."
Emmanuel Moseley is listed as questionable heading into Sunday's game. He was a full participant during both Thursday and Friday's sessions while working his way back from a concussion that kept him out of the lineup for three weeks. The corner has one more step to clear in the concussion protocol, but practiced without the blue non-contact jersey during both sessions. Moseley's pending return could add a significant boost to San Francisco's secondary, as the 49ers defense gave up a season-high 342 passing yards in Week 5 against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins.
Moseley makes a timely return, as reserve corner Dontae Johnson is set to miss his second-straight game after playing through a groin injury in Week 4.
Richard Sherman received injections in his leg this week after missing the last four games with a calf injury that led the corner to being placed on Injured Reserve. The team is opting to rest his calf and will re-assess his availability in the next 1-2 weeks, according to Shanahan.
With Sherman still on IR, Moseley will get the start opposite Jason Verrett, who has strung along impressive outings since his first start in Week 2. According to Pro Football Focus, San Francisco's main starters at corner have allowed a passer rating of 71.2 through five weeks (Moseley, Sherman, Verrett and K'Waun Williams), compared to their replacements who have allowed opposing quarterbacks a perfect rating of 158.3.
The team was expecting reinforcements from the players who began the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP) next week, however, Shanahan alluded to a later than expected date of return for several players. NFL rules dictate players on PUP are eligible for return after Week 6 of the regular season. According to the head coach, a more realistic timeline for Ronald Blair III, Weston Richburg and Jullian Taylor is more likely between Weeks 10-12.
The 49ers were hopeful to get Blair III back to help bolster San Francisco's defensive line. Blair III suffered a setback that required an additional procedure on his knee, however, is "doing a lot better from that," according Shanahan.