The San Francisco 49ers might have caught a huge break coming off of their Week 14 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. After a strong start to the game, linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair exited the contest near the end of the third quarter after making an attempted tackle and did not return. After undergoing imaging on Monday, the linebacker suffered an elbow sprain and is considered "day-to-day," per head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Al-Shaair has strung along an exceptional series of outings as of late, including stepping in admirably for Fred Warner in Week 13 who did not play with a hamstring injury. In the first half along against Cincinnati, Al-Shaair recorded a team-high 11 tackles, three for loss, a sack and a pass breakup.
His potential availability will be crucial for San Francisco in yet another pivotal upcoming matchup to help solidify the 49ers postseason ambitions.
Speaking of his teammate, Warner left Sunday's contest briefly as he went down with an apparent ankle injury in the second quarter. Per Shanahan, the All-Pro linebacker is dealing with a low-ankle sprain and should be "OK" for Sunday's tilt against the Atlanta Falcons.
As for fellow linebacker Dre Greenlaw, his status remains in the air for Sunday. Greenlaw missed 10 games this season after undergoing groin surgery. The linebacker re-aggravated the injury in his first return to the field in since Week 1 and since has been working through his injury. Per Shanahan, the 49ers aren't counting the linebacker out just yet.
"He has a chance, but it's been bothering him all year," Shanahan said. "We will see what he does on the field today and tomorrow. Not counting on it, but I hope it does happen."
Cornerback Ambry Thomas left Sunday's game in the fourth quarter with a head injury. He remains in the concussion protocol.
And finally, the 49ers were hopeful for a near-return for edge rusher Dee Ford. Ford was placed on Injured Reserve in Week 8 after suffering a hit that lit up some of his prior back issues. San Francisco opened his practice window earlier this month, which per league rules, the team has 21 days to place him back on the active roster before ending his opportunity to return to the team. The 49ers appear to be hoping for the best, but expecting the worst in the Pro Bowl edge rusher's potential return in 2021.
"I believe we have to (make a decision) by Wednesday. We'll see what goes," Shanahan said. "That's something I never can predict. But I'll be surprised if he's back. I think we'll just have to continue playing without him."
The 49ers will return to the SAP Performance Facility on Wednesday to resume practice in preparations for their Week 15 NFC matchup against the Falcons.