There are a number of question marks surrounding the availability of several Cardinals players heading into the 49ers Week 9 divisional matchup. The most notable is early MVP candidate Kyler Murray.
In the final drive of Arizona's Thursday night contest against the Green Bay Packers, Murray was tackled from behind on a run that left the quarterback limping off the field after the loss. Following the game, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury revealed the third-year quarterback suffered a sprained ankle and is considered "day-to-day" in his return.
Since, there have been varying reports surrounding the severity of Murray's injury, including FOX insider Jay Glazer alluding that the quarterback's injury could linger longer than anticipated.
During the Cardinals first practice of the week on Wednesday, Murray along with several other veterans were absent from the session. However, Kingsbury believes the quarterback still has an opportunity to play in Sunday's divisional match in San Francisco. Murray spoke with the media after the practice and noted the "mini Bye" between Thursday's game was "definitely helpful" in his recovery.
"He's the type of player - with his ability, his understanding of the system now - as long as he's getting the mental reps, we feel good about him going out there and executing," Kingsbury said on Wednesday. "We have a really good medical staff and training staff that are putting him through the wringer trying to get him ready."
Since being drafted No. 1 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, Murray has not missed an NFL start despite playing through injuries. If Murray isn't given the green light ahead of Sunday's game, backup quarterback Colt McCoy would get the start.
In the Week 5 contest, Murray completed just under 71 percent of his passes for 239 yards and a touchdown in the Cardinals 17-10 victory over the 49ers.
Additionally, wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green were reportedly not present during Wednesday's session. According to Kingsbury, at this point in the week, the Cardinals are unsure if Hopkins will be ready to go in Week 9.
"But with D-Hop, you never know," Kingsbury said.
The Pro Bowl wideouts' involvement over the week will be something worth monitoring.
As for the 49ers, Robbie Gould (groin) and George Kittle (calf) will make their first returns to practice since Week 5. Both were inactive in the first meeting between the 49ers and Cardinals and should add a significant boost for San Francisco going forward. Per Shanahan, the 49ers are "not counting on it 100 percent" for Kittle to play against the Cardinals. The team plans to take the tight end's re-immersion back onto the field slow, with his "real test" coming during Thursday's session.
Jeff Wilson Jr. is also set to make his practice debut after suffering a meniscus tear back in May.
Meanwhile, linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair and edge rusher Dee Ford, both who missed Week 8 with concussions, will be full participants at practice on Wednesday.
Notably, Deebo Samuel aggravated his calf against the Chicago Bears on Sunday and will not practice on Wednesday. According to Shanahan, the 49ers expect the wideout to return to practice later in the week ahead of Sunday's game.