San Francisco 49ers facing extensive injury bug entering new year

Dec 27, 2023, 3:09 PM | Updated: 3:22 pm

Trent Williams #71 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts after an injury during the first quarter again...

CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 15: Trent Williams #71 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts after an injury during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Week 16 was a scary sight for the San Francisco 49ers and fans alike, now having to deal with an even scarier foe: The injury bug.

Coach Kyle Shanahan unveiled a lengthy injury report ahead of practice Wednesday, with several starters expected to miss. This includes wide receiver Jauan Jennings (concussion), guard Aaron Banks (toe), defensive lineman Arik Armstead (foot) and safety Ji’Ayir Brown (knee). Additionally, backup OL Jaylon Moore will miss Wednesday due to a concussion.

All four starters are seen as worrisome injuries, with both Jennings and Armstead already missing games. The former missed Week 16, while the latter has been out of action for the weeks. Banks has also missed time due to turf toe, but this ailment is not as severe, with Shanahan leaving the door open for Sunday in Washington.

Ji’Ayir Brown has the newest and most concerning of the injuries, popping up with a knee sprain. While the team will wait and see, there is some concern it could be a long-term issue. The rookie is already filling in for Talanoa Hufanga, out for the year with a torn ACL. If Brown can’t play Week 17, veteran defensive backs Isaiah Oliver or Logan Ryan will replace him.

Left tackle Trent Williams is the best injury news of the day, listed as limited with a groin injury. He was removed from Week 16’s game in the third quarter but tried to return to the contest thereafter. His appearance Wednesday is encouraging to say the least.

Also on the limited list are CB Ambry Thomas (hamstring), DT Javon Hargrave (hamstring), LB Oren Burks (knee), and WR Deebo Samuel (neck). All four players are expected to be able to suit for Week 17 against the Commanders.

Offensive Reinforcements on the way for the 49ers?

The San Francisco 49ers also made several roster moves Wednesday, including officially signing DT Sebastian Joseph-Day.

Joseph-Day, 28, is a former captain with the Los Angeles Chargers, featuring in 14 games for them this season. The Pennsylvania native has racked up 31 combined tackles, 11 quarterback hits and three sacks in 2023. For his career, he has 224 tackles, showcasing his ability to stop the run in the trenches. Joseph-Day is also a Super Bowl champion with the Los Angeles Rams.

With Armstead expected to miss extended time, “SJD” is expected to fill a run-defending role in the middle of the park for the 49ers.

The 49ers also re-signed offensive lineman Matt Pryor Wednesday, waiving RB Jeremy McNichols to do so. San Francisco also added OL Sebastian Gutierrez and WR Willie Snead IV to the practice squad, helping fill out the roster with injuries piling up.

Lastly, the 49ers opened the practice window for WR Danny Gray.

Gray suffered a shoulder sprain at the start of the regular season, and has been unable to see the field ever since. Now with so many injuries at the position, the second-year speedster will get a chance to prove his worth to the 49ers.

Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule

  • Sunday, Dec. 31st @ Washington Commanders – 10:00 a.m. PST
  • Sunday, Jan. 7th vs. Los Angeles Rams – TBD
  • NFL Playoffs (TBD)

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