As the 49ers welcome in a new guard Friday, the 2017 fate of one of their current guards, Joshua Garnett, will be decided.
Garnett suffered a knee injury in early August that required surgery and kept him out of the preseason. Garnett also is expected to miss a chunk of the regular season. The 49ers will have a "summit" of coaches, team doctors and personnel officials to determine whether Garnett's season will be wiped away altogether by putting him on injured reserve Friday or Saturday or whether they should try to bring him back later in the season.
For the latter to happen, he would have to make their initial 53-man roster Saturday and then be placed on injured reserve, which would allow him to return to the active roster after six weeks.
"It’s going to be one of those two," Kyle Shanahan said of the team's options with Garnett, a first-round pick last year. "We’ve got to go through and talk about a lot of it. I haven’t got a chance to talk to Josh personally. So we’re going to talk about the different options and what it means to him this year, what it means to him next year and all that. We’ll discuss that (Friday).”
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Meanwhile, the 49ers traded for another former first-round pick at guard, Laken Tomlinson, on Thursday after his former team, the Detroit Lions, landed in Buffalo for their preseason finale. Tomlinson was expected to join the 49ers during their game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
“We just felt like we needed some depth there at the interior position and, heck, he’s a guy who was a first-round draft choice for a reason,” general manager John Lynch said. “It didn’t go as expected in Detroit. But we liked the film. The consistency probably needs to be there. You never know happens – new regime there (in Detroit), you never know with him. We feel like he fits well with what we do and we were thrilled to get him.”
Lynch said the goal was to get Tomlinson up to speed as quickly as possible so that he could compete for a starting spot. Tomlinson, 25, does not have much experience in the zone-blocking scheme the 49ers use, which makes a Week 1 appearance unlikely.
Lynch noted that one of the evaluators on which he leans, Martin Mayhew, drafted Tomlinson in the first round two years ago when he was the Lions’ general manager. He said Shanahan also evaluated Tomlinson during the 2015 draft process when Tomlinson was coming out of Duke.
“Everyone had a pretty good feel,” Lynch said. “And we watched the film. And like I said, we liked what we saw.”
The 49ers want to at least increase the competition at their guard spots where Brandon Fusco is starting on the right side and Zane Beadles is on the left.
Starters rest – The 49ers kept 29 players, most of them would-be starters, out of Thursday’s game. The only possible Week 1 starter who was in uniform was strong-side linebacker Eli Harold.
Draft picks Solomon Thomas, Reuben Foster and George Kittle were among the group that watched from the sideline. Kittle, a fifth-round pick, and Garrett Celek both sat out the game. The 49ers likely will keep either two or three true tight ends on the roster.
Et cetera – Seventh-round pick Adrian Colbert, who played only four special teams snaps Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, started at free safety and forced a fumble with a big hit on the Chargers’ second drive. It was one of three 49ers takeaways in the first half.
▪ Rookie receiver Victor Bolden, who had a 104-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Week 2 of the preseason, scored on a 92-yard punt return in the second quarter.
▪ Two former Christian Brothers High School students, cornerbacks Ahkello Witherspoon and Asa Jackson, were on the field together in the first quarter. Jackson intercepted a tipped pass from quarterback Cardale Jones on Los Angeles’ first drive, then got another pick near the end of the third quarter on a pass from Mike Bercovici.