The glaring losses of Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon have masked the dramatic impact of another missing cog on the San Francisco 49ers offense: Marquise Goodwin.
Goodwin has played in just fragments of three games this season while posting a mere five receptions for 54 yards. That's because he's been slowed by quad and hamstring injuries that stemmed from a blindside hit to his legs in the first half of Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. Goodwin tried to come back in that game, but couldn't make it happen. He played sparingly in Week 3 and caught a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs. Goodwin also saw reps against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 4 before reinjuring his leg.
Now he's staring down a Week 6 return against the Green Bay Packers at a time when the 49ers are desperate to get him back. Goodwin practiced in full on Thursday, and, fingers crossed, could be all systems go on Monday night.
"Defenses definitely have to game plan for having a guy like Marquise in there," Kyle Shanahan said on Thursday. "It changes your offense a little bit and what you want to do as a scheme, for sure. So, it'll be nice to have him back this week."
Goodwin joked that San Francisco's medical staff had to cut his injured leg off and sew a new one back on. His humor was quickly replaced by the excruciating reality of what he's endured through the first quarter of the season.
Check out photos from the 49ers previous meetings against the Green Bay Packers.
"It's pretty painful," Goodwin said. "Just imagine you're walking down the street, a pedestrian, and you've got the walk signal on, but a car just comes and rams you right in the leg."
San Francisco hopes that the worst is behind Goodwin, and that he'll reemerge as a potent weapon in Kyle Shanahan's offense. That would be a welcomed sight for C.J. Beathard and Co. as no 49ers receiver has topped 61 yards in a game yet this season.
Beathard and Goodwin had plenty of time to build rapport in 2017 during the quarterback's five starts last season. Although Goodwin's biggest games came with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, his 83-yard touchdown reception came from Beathard's arm.
"We've just got to get some timing down," Goodwin said. "We got a lot of reps last year together. There's nothing that different. It's just about execution and timing."
Goodwin's highly-anticipated return will take place at Lambeau Field. The primetime matchup on one of football's most hallowed grounds will provide Goodwin with the perfect stage to reestablish himself as a top playmaker in San Francisco.
"I always wanted to play there, and now I'll have that opportunity on Monday night," Goodwin said. "The lights will be on, and we'll be going against a great team. I just look forward to the game."