The San Francisco 49ers caught a massive break following their Week 4 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Things began to look rather grim postgame as head coach Kyle Shanahan revealed a number of players statuses were up in the air.
Most notably, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played just two quarters of Sunday’s contest after dealing with a calf injury that sidelined him for the entirety of the second half. The quarterback underwent an MRI on Monday as his injury was ruled a calf contusion. Per Shanahan, Garoppolo will be evaluated over the next several days and still has a chance to start in Week 5 as the team is set to face off against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals.
“It wasn’t as bad as what we thought it might have been,” Shanahan said on Monday. “He came in today and he’s in a lot of pain, still sore. Hopefully, by the time he comes in Wednesday he’ll feel better and have a good chance. Looking as a bruise. If it hasn’t improved by Wednesday, it’ll probably be a little longer.”
Should Garoppolo be unable to play, Shanahan feels confident in backup Trey Lance making his first NFL start in the divisional contest. Lance closed out the second half of Sunday’s contest and finished the day 9-of-18 passing for 157 yards and two touchdowns in his largest snap share so far this season.
“Every week you want to tell him to approach (the game) like the starting quarterback,” Shanahan said of Lance. “This is the first week going into it that he’s legitimately got a chance to on the first play. So, he’s got to approach it that way and learn from the stuff that he did last night and come in ready to go on Wednesday.”
Another huge sigh of relief came by the way of San Francisco’s All-Pro left tackle. Trent Williams exited the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent shoulder injury. Shanahan revealed the offensive lineman is “day-to-day” and has a chance to suit up in Arizona on Sunday.
Williams’ availability has been critical for San Francisco over the past two seasons. Per Pro Football Focus, Williams is, once again, the top graded offensive lineman in the NFL so far through four games in 2021.
“That was probably the best news we got considering what we were worried about initially,” he continued. “There is some fluid in there and stuff, so there are some issues with it. But that’s stuff that hopefully he can recover before Sunday.
“Both of them (Garoppolo and Williams) were definitely better news today than the feeling we had last night.”
If Williams is unable to go, the 49ers will look to fifth-round tackle Jaylon Moore, who stepped in for the veteran on Sunday during the offense’s fourth quarter two-minute drill. He also impressed in his preseason snaps at left tackle.
“He did a good job while he was in and if he needs to be ready this week, he’ll have all week to prepare for it and we will give him more reps than he’s been given, and he’ll be ready to go,” Shanahan said.
Kicker Robbie Gould suffered a groin injury in pregame warmups and did not play in Sunday’s contest. Instead, Mitch Wishnowsky saw snaps in Gould’s absence, where the punter connected on an extra point, however, missed a 41-yard field goal and another extra point opportunity.
Per Shanahan, Gould’s strained groin is roughly a 3-5-week injury. The team plans to work out some options in Gould’s absence as he’s a potential Injured Reserve candidate. Should the kicker be placed on IR, the earliest for his return would be Week 9 as the 49ers host the Cardinals in their second and final meeting of the regular season.
Tight end George Kittle is continuing to work through his calf soreness. Last week Shanahan revealed the tight end has been playing through his injury since the season opener. Per the head coach, he will be in a similar situation as last week where his status is managed as the week progresses. The same goes for defensive linemen Javon Kinlaw (knee) and Samson Ebukam (hamstring soreness).
Another positive for the 49ers comes at the running back position as the team is likely to see the return of rookie Elijah Mitchell, who has missed the last two weeks with a shoulder injury. Last week, Mitchell wore a blue non-contact jersey as Shanahan noted the running back’s availability would be dependent on his pain tolerance. He expects the ball carrier to be fully available when the team resumes practice on Wednesday in advance of their second of back-to-back divisional matchups.