After notching their eighth-straight win of the season on Christmas Eve, the San Francisco 49ers got to enjoy the holiday at home with friends and family on a rare Sunday off from football. In addition to coming away with the 37-20 victory over the Washington Commanders, the team was fortunate to close out their Week 16 contest without any new players landing on the injury report.
As the team gears up to face the Las Vegas Raiders this weekend, it's possible they will also be rejoined by several teammates recovering from injuries. In his conference call with the media on Monday afternoon, head coach Kyle Shanahan was optimistic about several of his sidelined starters returning to the fold in the near future.
For starters, wide receiver Deebo Samuel continues to make "good progress" on his separate knee and ankle injuries. Initial recovery timelines had the wideout making a return sometime during the regular season, and things are still trending in that direction.
"We'll see how it goes in these next two days with rehab," Shanahan responded when asked about Samuel's possible return to practice this week. "I think there's a chance possibly later in the week. We'll see though."
Defensive lineman Kerry Hyder Jr. (ankle) rejoined practice in a limited capacity on Wednesday and Thursday of last week and is expected at workouts again this week. The same goes for fellow defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw (knee) who suffered no setbacks versus Washington. The 49ers Week 16 matchup was Kinlaw's first game back since the team's Week 3 loss to the Denver Broncos. Per the head coach, Kinlaw played 16 snaps against the Commanders, and the outing was a "good first step" for the third-year tackle.
Running back Elijah Mitchell (knee), who has landed on the Injured Reserve list twice this season with MCL sprains, is also inching closer to a return. There's a chance Mitchell could have his practice window opened as early as Friday, however, Shanahan pointed towards a date slightly farther out.
"He is healing up," Shanahan said. "He's had no setbacks, he's doing well, so we'll see if he's available next week for us."
Injured Reserve Options
As it stands, the 49ers have just one activation from the Injured Reserve list available for use for the rest of the 2022 season. Under current NFL guidelines, each club is allotted a total of eight activations from IR per season, and although a players can be activated more than once from the Injured Reserve list, each roster move subtracts from the team's total. With San Francisco punching their ticket to the postseason, there are important roster decisions left to be made.
"It would probably come down to Hassan Ridgeway (pectoral) and Elijah," Shanahan said. "Elijah from a health standpoint is a lot further along than him, so that's odds are where we're going to go."
Fortunately for the 49ers, the running back room did not get hit with the injury bug again on Saturday despite a brief shakeup to rookie Jordan Mason during the game's opening kickoff.
"His knee was just a scare," Shanahan said. "He's actually sick today, so I let him out today for being sick, but his hamstring ended up being good."
Per the head coach, Mason experienced some hamstring tightness ahead of the team's Week 16 matchup but hasn't dealt with any additional setbacks over the past couple days. Mason and fellow rookie Tyrion Davis-Price have each seen their workloads increase due to the 49ers-Dolphins trade for Jeff Wilson Jr. and MCL sprains sidelining Mitchell on two separate occasions this season.