INDIANAPOLIS -- Saturday's game between the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts is all about who is returning to action. Richard Sherman (hamstring), Arik Armstead (hamstring) and Alfred Morris will all make their preseason debuts at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Sherman injured his hamstring during the second week of training camp and has slowly been working his way back into practice. The coaching staff has been cautious with the corner, holding him out despite Sherman's best efforts to expedite his return. Sherman is expected to play the entire first half along with the rest of the first-team defense. This will be the starting point for Sherman, and the most important task at hand on Saturday is to make it through the game without any setbacks. There's surely to be some rust to knock off as he readies himself for the regular season.
Armstead has been out since the first few days of camp. Injuries have always been his bugaboo. He needs to make it through Saturday's game healthy as well. Dissimilar to Sherman, Armstead's role on gameday is much less secure. A good performance against the Colts would go a long way in locking up his job on base downs.
The 49ers held Morris out last week against the Houston Texans in order to give the veteran an extra week of practice and football conditioning. Morris will start for the 49ers on Saturday and is likely to see a sizeable workload throughout the first half. With Joe Williams injured and Jeremy McNichols getting the start last week, this is Morris' chance to make a strong bid at a roster spot.
K'Waun Williams (ankle) and Solomon Thomas (concussion) are also returning. Williams is returning from an ankle sprain suffered in practice while Thomas has made it through the concussion protocol. This will be Williams' first game action of the preseason.
One other name to keep an eye on is Malcolm Smith (hamstring). Smith left after just a few plays during the team's preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys. He might not start, but he should still see a decent amount of playing time and will need to prove that he can make it through a game healthy.
Here is the list of players who aren't likely to play on Saturday:
- Max McCaffrey
- Matt Breida
- Jerick McKinnon
- Joe Williams
- Marcell Harris
- Erik Magnuson
- Garry Gilliam
- George Kittle
No surprises there.