San Francisco 49ers’ George Kittle (knee) and receiver Deebo Samuel (foot) available for Philadelphia Eagles game
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers are getting two big pieces of their offense back for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, will still be without two more and are about to put another duo on injured reserve.
Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday that tight end George Kittle (sprained left knee) and receiver Deebo Samuel (fractured left foot) will be available to play Sunday night but quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (high right ankle sprain) and running back Raheem Mostert (sprained knee) will not.
As had been expected all week, tight end Jordan Reed (sprained knee) and defensive end Dee Ford (back) are headed to short-term injured reserve, according to Shanahan. Those moves will be made official by Saturday afternoon.
It’s no surprise that Garoppolo and Mostert have officially been ruled out after neither participated in any practices this week. Shanahan indicated earlier in the week that he’d like to see Garoppolo get back to practice in some capacity before he felt comfortable putting him back in the lineup.
But that didn’t happen and the Niners will turn to backup quarterback Nick Mullens to start for the second consecutive week.
“He’s ready to go,” Shanahan said. “He was real crisp all week and you just detail up a few things today.”
Running back Jerick McKinnon will start for Mostert again, as well.
Kittle and Samuel, on the other hand, made it through the entire week of practice without any issue. Kittle was a full participant all three days and made it clear in his Thursday media session that he would return against the Eagles. Shanahan confirmed that on Friday, as Kittle does not even appear on the injury report.
Samuel’s situation was a bit more complicated since he has remained on injured reserve but the Niners opened his 21-day window to practice on Wednesday. Shanahan said he wanted to see Samuel get through the week without any issues before deciding whether to activate him to the 53-man roster.
Samuel did well enough that he will be activated and available against the Eagles, though the Niners will keep an eye on how much playing time he gets.
“I wouldn’t say that there’s a pitch count but Deebo was our starting receiver last year,” Shanahan said. “He earned that early in the year and we kept it that way most of the year, so I don’t expect him to be like that on Sunday. It is his first time back, we have got to be smart with that… I know he’ll be out there but it won’t be his normal role, that’s for sure.”
To make room on the roster for Samuel, the 49ers will place Reed and Ford on injured reserve. The Niners have not yet filled the other spot but will in the next day.
“I do think they are going to go on (injured reserve) by tomorrow,” Shanahan said. “I know Deebo is doing the one (spot). I’m not exactly sure what we’re doing with the other yet. There’s a few fluid things right now but I think we have until 1 (p.m. PT) tomorrow to decide.”
Elsewhere on the injury front, San Francisco is dealing with a rash of issues at cornerback. Emmanuel Moseley (concussion) and Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring) have been ruled out for Sunday while K’Waun Williams (hip) is listed as questionable.
Williams trended in the right direction as the week went on, sitting out Wednesday but participating on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday. Witherspoon went in the opposite direction, participating in full on Wednesday, limited on Thursday and not practicing on Friday.
With Moseley and Witherspoon out and Richard Sherman (calf) on injured reserve, the Niners will likely start Jason Verrett and Dontae Johnson at outside cornerback. If Williams can’t play, his usual nickel role could be filled by Jamar Taylor, whom the team signed to the practice squad Friday but was with the team in training camp and could be activated on Sunday.
The 49ers also ruled linebacker Dre Greenlaw (quadriceps) out against the Eagles, a move Shanahan had said would be coming.