Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters on Wednesday and provided updates on receivers Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd. Both wideouts were placed on Injured Reserved at the start of the season (Week 3 and Week 5, respectively). Taylor suffered a foot injury during training camp, while Hurd has been dealing with a back issue since Week 3 of the preseason. The receivers would be eligible to return to practice after six weeks and can return to games after a minimum of eight weeks.
Per NFL rules, teams are allowed to bring back two players from Injured Reserve. Cornerback Jason Verrett and defensive lineman Kentavius Street are also options to return from IR. While both Taylor and Hurd are ideal candidates, recent setbacks have caused the head coach to feel less optimistic about their chances to return.
"Not as much (optimism) as there was earlier," Shanahan said on Wednesday. "They both had chances to come back earlier. Both of them have had setbacks, which had to start a couple of things over. We haven't ruled them out, but I'm still hoping for it, but it's not something we can for sure count on."
The receivers' setbacks may have had an influence in the San Francisco 49ers trade for Emmanuel Sanders on Tuesday. Sanders was on hand for San Francisco's first practice of the week on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday's contest against the Carolina Panthers. Shanahan expects the receiver to dress ahead of the Week 8 matchup.
"They had to start a couple things over," Shanahan said of Taylor and Hurd. "I think Hurd's allowed to (return) the Baltimore week. I want to say Trent might be a week earlier. And I think they can practice two weeks before that. We will see how it goes. I was a lot more optimistic earlier in the year, but there's been a few setbacks that we can't guarantee that. It's a risky thing when you are dealing with injuries and stuff. It's a risky thing to do when you've got to make a decision here by next Tuesday (NFL trade deadline), where we're going to go."
Shanahan announced on Monday that there was an "outside chance" Joe Staley would suit up for Sunday's contest. Staley was expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a broken fibula in the Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The veteran left tackle took part in Wednesday's session on a limited basis participating in individual drills open to the media.
In addition to Staley, Dee Ford (quadricep), D.J. Jones (hamstring), George Kittle (groin), Raheem Mostert (knee) and Deebo Samuel (groin) were limited participants during Wednesday's practice. As expected, Kyle Juszczyk (knee), Mike McGlinchey (knee) and Ahkello Witherspoon (foot) did not practice.