Linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong, who had an interception in Week 1 and has been an integral part of the 49ers’ pass defense, will go on injured reserve because of a torn chest muscle he suffered in the second half Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
Armstrong and Gerald Hodges had been sharing snaps at the “Will” linebacker spot next to NaVorro Bowman. Hodges took all of the snaps there after Armstrong left Sunday’s game, although defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil said special teamers Michael Wilhoite and Nick Bellore also are available to play the position.
Another inside linebacker, Shayne Skov, is on the practice squad and could be promoted to the 53-man roster.
“It (stinks),” O’Neil said of the injury. “But as I said all along, we’re going to need Wilhoite, we’re going to need Gerald to help us win football games.”
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In the first two games, Hodges was on the field for 75 defensive snaps; Armstrong was on for 69. Armstrong suffered the injury in the third quarter and finished with four tackles and a fumble recovery.
“I thought he was playing his butt off,” O’Neil said. “He was playing a really good game for us and made some splash plays in that Carolina game, and it’s just one of those unfortunate deals that happens in this league.”
Armstrong and cornerback Will Redmond (knee) are eligible to be taken off injured reserve at some point this season, although the team can bring back only one player from injured reserve in a season.
Et cetera – Offensive tackle Anthony Davis was on an exercise cycle to begin Tuesday’s practice. Davis suffered a concussion in Thursday’s practice – the 49ers’ only fully padded practice of the week – and is in the league’s concussion protocol. Davis missed four games after suffering a concussion in 2014, then sat out the 2015 season to give his “brain and body a chance to heal.”
▪ Safety Jaquiski Tartt, who required some extra stretching last week, was not on the field for the start of practice Tuesday. Tartt played 21 snaps Sunday. Rookie cornerback Rashard Robinson went to the sideline Sunday after a hard tackle at midfield. He was on the practice field Tuesday for the start of the session.
▪ Longtime 49ers executive John McVay watched Tuesday’s practice. He was part of the team’s front office from 1980 to 1999, which spanned all five of the franchise’s Super Bowl titles.