SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Two more San Francisco 49ers are headed to injured reserve, and though reinforcements are on the way, it remains unclear when the Niners will get back some of the key players dealing with injuries.
Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday that defensive end Ziggy Ansah suffered a torn biceps in Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and will require season-ending surgery and go on long-term injured reserve later this week. That was the expected outcome for Ansah, and the Niners also got some bad news on nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams.
Williams, who was already dealing with a hip injury, sprained his knee against the Eagles and will “most likely” head to short-term injured reserve this week. That means Williams will have to miss at least three games.
“I’m concerned,” Shanahan said. “K’Waun has been battling through his hip. Then you got the knee. I can’t tell you how much respect I have for K’Waun, the fact that he’s been out there every week for us. The fact when he was getting hurt throughout that game, he kept trying to come in because he knew how down we were. … K’Waun, what he went through, just battling through it, he did as much as he could, and we’ve got to shut him down now, give him a chance to recover.”
Shanahan is hoping that some of the previously injured Niners will return sooner than later. Shanahan said quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (high right ankle sprain), linebacker Dre Greenlaw (quadriceps), running back Raheem Mostert (knee sprain) and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring) each at least have a chance to return to practice this week, though some are closer than others. Receiver Richie James Jr., who is on short-term IR because of a hamstring injury, is also a candidate to return for this week’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
Shanahan said he’s unsure about his quarterback’s status, and Garoppolo would go through workouts Monday and Tuesday before seeing if or how much he can practice on Wednesday.
Mostert, who missed the past two games because of a sprained knee, is probably still another week away, though that could change, Shanahan said.
“I’m not real optimistic, but I know he does have a chance Wednesday, and it will get more and more each day that goes in the week, but we have got to wait to see how he comes in then,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan is taking a similarly cautious approach to the potential return of cornerback Richard Sherman. Sherman has been on short-term injured reserve since a calf injury in Week 1 and is eligible to return to practice for the first time this week.
Asked what the chances of Sherman practicing this week and playing Sunday are, Shanahan said, “about the same as Raheem’s.”
“[I’m] not real high on either, but I know they do have a chance,” Shanahan said. “Initially, I was told Sherm would be about three to four weeks, and I think we’re coming up on three, and it was most likely supposed to be four. So I’m kind of expecting him, hoping for him next week, but it would be a good surprise to get him this week. Talking to Sherm, there’s always a chance, but we’re gonna have to wait and see how he is on Wednesday.”
In addition to Sherman and Williams, the 49ers are awaiting the return of starting cornerback Emmanuel Moseley. Moseley is still in concussion protocol, which means the Niners could play this week without their top three cornerbacks. If Witherspoon is able to return, he would likely start on the outside with Jason Verrett, leaving Jamar Taylor to step in for Williams in the slot.
As for finding outside help to supplement the roster, particularly at positions such as cornerback and defensive end that have been hit hard by injury, Shanahan said the team is likely to ride this week out before making any more moves.
“It is kind of hard to bring guys in, and there’s not a ton out there right now,” Shanahan said. “We’ve done it, I feel, as well as we can so far. … I don’t know if we’ll be able to do that this week. I doubt it. We’ll go with what we’ve got, and we’ll see who is ready to go.”