As the San Francisco 49ers begin game planning for the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4, the team will be doing so without left tackle Trent Williams and linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair in the mix. On Monday, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed his initial injury reports for both players. Williams did in fact suffer a high ankle sprain, and Al-Shaair sustained an MCL sprain in the team's 11-10 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.
As a result, both players are expected to miss a significant amount of playing time. Shanahan compared Al-Shaair's injury to that of running back Elijah Mitchell's—it won't require surgery and will likely take eight weeks total for recovery. In Williams' case, the timetable is a bit more unclear.
"The swelling is pretty bad," Shanahan said. "High-ankle (sprains) are usually, just for everyone, they say four-to-six (weeks), but sometimes it can be sooner and sometimes it can be longer. That's why I didn't give an exact date. It's too early to tell."
The loss of the 49ers All-Pro left tackle is a significant one with San Francisco still breaking in a brand new trio on the interior of its offensive line. Williams provided stability on the left side and an important veteran presence for the group. Backup offensive linemen Colton McKivitz and Jaylon Moore split reps against the Broncos in Williams' absence. Moving forward, Shanahan anticipates McKivitz to get the nod at left tackle.
"That's probably what would have happened last week in the beginning if he didn't get dinged up in practice and missed all those reps," Shanahan said. "Most likely it'll be that, and hopefully, we can get Dan (Brunskill) back to possibly help us out inside."
On a positive note, offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill, who has been dealing with a lingering hamstring injury from the preseason, is expected to rejoin the team at practice this week. Additionally, San Francisco's head coach is optimistic that following this upcoming Week 4 matchup with the Rams, cornerback Jason Verrett and safety Jimmie Ward will be in good enough shape to begin practicing. Verrett opened up the season on the PUP/Reserve list while Ward landed on the Injured Reserve list, making them both ineligible for the first four games of the regular season.
Tight end Ross Dwelley was the final player to sustain an injury versus the Broncos. No. 82 is dealing with a rib injury and is day-to-day. The 49ers will resume a long practice at the SAP Performance Facility on Tuesday.