The San Francisco 49ers are looking forward to returning to full strength following the Week 7 win over the Washington Redskins. The 49ers were without seven of their starters heading in to the 9-0 victory. Head coach Kyle Shanahan addressed the media following Sunday’s win to provide updates on several players who are expected to return in the coming weeks. Here a few notes on the injury front.
Marquise Goodwin and Matt Breida suffered head injuries during Sunday’s win. Both passed concussion protocol and were able to return to the field shortly after. According to the head coach, both are good to practice this week.
Deebo Samuel missed Sunday's win while dealing with a groin issue. Shanahan expects to get the wideout back this week as well. The rookie has put up 176 yards from scrimmage on 18 touches and a touchdown through five contests.
Joe Staley was expected to miss 6-8 weeks after suffering a broken fibula in Week 2. Staley has been making strides towards his return as the left tackle has been seen conditioning on the sidelines and worked out on the field prior to the 49ers contest against the Redskins. According to the head coach, Staley will give it a go at practice this week, although his status for Sunday against the Carolina Panthers is still up in the air.
“I think he’s going to try to get out there and practice this week,” Shanahan said. “We’ll see how it goes these next two days. Just talking to him, I think these next two days are big. We’ll see how he feels on Wednesday. I do think there’s an outside chance, but hopefully we can get him out on the practice field a little bit this week to where he feels good and everything and then he can go. If not, then at least he can get a little bit of work in because it’s going to be hard to get a real practice in the following week because of the Thursday night game versus Arizona.”
Justin Skule, who was the highest graded offensive player on Sunday, will continue to get the start in Staley’s absence.
The same goes for third-year cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon. The 49ers were hopeful for Witherspoon’s return ahead of the Week 8 matchup. The corner missed the last three games while dealing with a foot sprain suffered in Week 3. According to the head coach, Witherspoon suffered a minor setback last week, which will temporarily stall the starting right corner’s return.
“Not as much (faith) as I did last week,” Shanahan said. “Was hoping for it. Had a little bit of a setback last week. Not big. But I think it will be pushing it this week. There’s still an outside chance, but not as much as I felt last week.”
The 49ers have been without long snapper Kyle Nelson since Week 13 of the 2018 season. Nelson was suspended for ten games for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. He served the remaining six games of his suspension to start the season and is permitted to return in Week 8. Colin Holba was the 49ers long snapper to start the season. He was replaced by Jon Condo in Week 3, who retired from the league after one game. Garrison Sanborn has served as the team’s long snapper since Week 5. The 49ers will have a decision to make with Nelson’s impending return.
"I know we get a roster exemption for a week, but we should have him in here this week and decide what to do for Sunday," Shanahan said of his long snapper conundrum.