Things didn’t necessarily go as anticipated for the San Francisco 49ers coming out of the early Week 4 bye. The team placed two members on Injured Reserve, however, got back a key piece of the offense. Head coach Kyle Shanahan addressed the media on Thursday and gave updates on several members of the 49ers and their status heading into the primetime matchup on Monday night against the Cleveland Browns.
The timeline for Hurd to make his NFL debut didn’t go as planned as it was announced on Thursday that the wide receiver would be placed on Injured Reserve. San Francisco’s third-round pick has been sidelined since the preseason while dealing with a back injury. The opportunity to give Hurd’s back time to heal went into the decision to place the wideout on IR.
“He’s just got to rest,” Shanahan said. “Anytime you have a stress fracture in your back, that was the hard thing with it. There are guys that have come back in three weeks and there are guys who it takes 10 weeks and there’s just as good of a chance to come back in three weeks as there is 10 weeks. We took that chance. It hasn’t been healing the way we wanted it to. The pain is still there, so we’ve got to give him at least another month. That’s the reason why we’ve got to put him on IR.”
Tough news as Verrett, who has struggled with injuries over his six-year NFL career, was also placed on Injured Reserve. Verrett was limited to just 14 snaps (10 special teams, 4 defense) after suffering a knee injury during the 49ers win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The cornerback missed the first two weeks of the regular season while dealing with an ankle injury during training camp. Prior to Week 3, Verrett hadn’t played a regular season snap since the start of the 2017 season.
“You guys all know his history and how tough he’s had it coming back,” Shanahan said. “He had an injury in training camp, a different one, that didn’t allow him to work for the last couple weeks of training camp. We’ve been trying to ease him back in these last three weeks. After the Pittsburgh game his knee just flared up over the week and coming back from bye, doctors’ advice was that he needed to rest it a lot longer. And so, we’re trying to do the best thing for him because he’s not ready to go so we’re trying to get him on IR.”
According to Shanahan, both Hurd and Verrett are eligible options to return from IR after Week 12.
The 49ers will continue to rest Ford, who did not practice on Thursday. Ford has continued to play through a lingering quad issue and according to Shanahan, will give it a go during Saturday’s session ahead of the Monday night contest. The 49ers were hopeful the extended time off during the Week 4 bye would play in the defensive end’s favor. Ford could potentially regularly miss practices each week as an opportunity to provide relief to the ongoing discomfort.
“It’s definitely improving, but we’re not going to put him out there today and we’ll see day-to-day with that. Really hoping to have him Monday night, but he’ll be questionable all week,” Shanahan said. “Hopefully he’ll get out there, possibly tomorrow, more likely on (Saturday).”
Ahkello Witherspoon and Joe Staley are also among the players who did not practice on Thursday.
Coleman made his return to the field after dealing with an ankle injury in the Week 1 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coleman was a limited participant during Thursday’s practice which is a good sign that the running back could be active in Week 5. It is worth keeping an eye on Coleman’s progress throughout the week, and should he be on hand, the 49ers decision with the number of backs to dress on Monday.
“The three days of evaluation will be big with him and the three other guys,” Shanahan said. “If Tevin’s 100-percent and good to go, he’s a guy we would never keep out, but it’s also going to be a short week getting ready for the Rams too so we take all of that into account.”
Ward was a full participant for the first time this season after dealing with a broken finger ahead of Week 1. Following the team’s release of Antone Exum Jr., there’s a strong possibility the defensive back could make his season debut this week against the Browns.
“He’s healthier now than he has been,” Shanahan said. “He’s been healthy, but his cast has gotten smaller so it’s a lot easier for him to go this week. He’s got the possibility to play at any spot. We’ll see how practice goes and where we want to put him.”
San Francisco re-signed the veteran wideout on Thursday. Matthews joined the team this past March at the start of free agency and had an impressive training camp. However, the numbers game left Matthews as the odd man out behind Kendrick Bourne and Richie James Jr. With Hurd joining Trent Taylor on Injured Reserve, San Francisco brought back the wideout who is familiar with Shanahan’s offense and could be an active option for the 49ers thinning receiving corps.
“We only have five receivers on our roster right now,” Shanahan said. “We IR’ed two, we had seven and we’ve been going with five. But we’ve been waiting for those two. Now that both of those are on IR, to me you always want at least six, you’d like to always have six receivers up because you’ll usually take five in a gameday. Jordan was a guy who was extremely close to making our team and we knew if those guys didn’t come back he’d be the next man up.”