The 49ers received some promising news as the team returned to practice ahead of their Week 5 matchup against the Miami Dolphins. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is set to be a limited participant during Wednesday's practice. Garoppolo missed the last two games while working his way back from a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 2. Despite his regulated return to the field, it has not been confirmed whether the quarterback will dress against Miami. The team will continue to monitor Garoppolo's progress leading up to Sunday.
"He did a good job through walkthrough and we'll see how he does," Shanahan said. "We're going to throw him in there today and that'll give me more of an opinion at least."
Both Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard will alternate starting reps this week in the event Garoppolo is inactive. Mullens received the start in Garoppolo's absence, however, was replaced in the fourth quarter by Beathard on Sunday, who strung together two near-perfect drives. The head coach is holding cards close to his chest and has no plan on revealing which of the two backups will get the start if Garoppolo isn't suited up for Sunday.
"I have (made a decision), but I'm going to hold that just because there is a difference between them," Shanahan said. "And if Jimmy can't go, I'd like Miami to find that out on Sunday. But I've decided that we'll get both of them reps because both of them do have to be ready in case Jimmy doesn't go."
Several starters will also make their return to practice. Raheem Mostert (knee), Dre Greenlaw (quad), Dante Pettis (knee), Trent Taylor (ankle) and Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring) are all expected to be limited participants on Wednesday.
The 49ers will be without multiple members of their secondary on Wednesday. Dontae Johnson (groin), Emmanuel Moseley (concussion) and Jimmie Ward (wrist) did not practice in the 49ers first session of the week. Shanahan revealed Johnson played through a groin injury on Sunday with the 49ers limited at the cornerback position. As for Ward, the team isn't too concerned with his injury. According to Shanahan, the free safety has been dealing with soreness. The team is running tests on his wrist and are holding him out of practice for precautionary measures.
Despite his eligibility to return to practice, the 49ers aren't anticipating a Week 5 return for Richard Sherman. Sherman was placed on short-term Injured Reserve with a calf injury following the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals. Shanahan cited a potential return for the All-Pro corner when the 49ers host the Los Angeles Rams in Week 6.
"He was hoping he could get back in practice this week," Shanahan said. "We're going to hold him a little longer. I'm hoping he continues to improve and I'm hoping he'll be ready for next week. I'd be surprised if he got in later this week."
Finally, Shanahan still expects center Weston Richburg to return around Week 7. Richburg started the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP) while working his way back from a torn patellar tendon. According to league rules, players on PUP may not practice or play the first six weeks of the season. The said player is eligible to return to practice after the sixth week. Per Shanahan, the center hasn't suffered any setbacks and remains on track as he nears his impending return.