Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster revealed Friday that before entering the blue, makeshift medical tent on the 49ers’ sideline Sunday he feared he had damaged his surgically repaired right shoulder.
The shoulder is perhaps the chief reason Foster fell to pick No. 31 in the April draft. One team worried the February procedure “didn’t take” and another felt that the rough-and-tumble linebacker would re-injure it during the season.
The 49ers medical staff’s confidence in the shoulder prompted the team to trade up to select Foster. When he went to the ground – for the second time – Sunday against the Titans, Foster said he had little feeling in the shoulder and feared the worst.
Inside the makeshift medical tent on the sideline, however, trainers had him raise weights with his right arm and he quickly was reassured nothing was drastically wrong. He missed just two defensive snaps in the contest.
“Yeah, I was worried because it was the shoulder I had injured,” Foster said. “But when I started feeling all my muscles and I was strengthening it up … it was great. Nothing was wrong with it and I knew right then and there I didn’t re-mess anything up in my shoulder, that it was just a stinger.”
Foster and the 49ers’ run defense haven’t allowed a running back to surpass 100 rushing yards since Nov. 5 and have held the last four teams they’ve faced to 90 or fewer rushing yards. On Sunday they’ll face Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, who ranks ninth overall among rushers and is second only to Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt among rookie rushers.
Foster, who played at Alabama, knows former LSU runner Fournette well from their encounters in the Southeast Conference.
“Nasty, physical, fast,” Foster said. “I can go on and on. I just know him as a real serious running back. So that’s why I take Leonard Fournette seriously. You don’t take him as a joke.”
Jimmy’s clutch – A day after being named the Fed-Ex Air Player of the Week, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo won another weekly award, the Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Week.
Garoppolo, who engineered a game-winning drive in 67 seconds, beat four other nominees, including Carolina quarterback Cam Newton and Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, for the award.
With the win, Garoppolo became just one of nine quarterbacks since the 1970 merger to win his first five starts. His 1,504 passing yards in those games are second only to Newton’s 1,610 since the merger.
Garoppolo arrived in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 and has been cramming the team’s voluminous playbook since.
“He was living in a hotel and now he’s got an apartment with just a bed in it,” quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello said this week. “He’s here as much as he can be. We grind and have fun with it. Kyle appreciates it. I appreciate it. It’s helped all of us form a relationship quickly that you need to be successful.”
Et cetera – The 49ers list just two players on their injury report this week: Cornerback Greg Mabin is doubtful with the calf injury he suffered last week in practice while tight end Garrett Celek is questionable with rib and knee injuries.
▪ Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner practiced Friday after missing the sessions early in the week with a sprained ankle. He is expected to be full-go for Sunday’s game. Both free safety Adrian Colbert and receiver Aldrick Robinson were removed from the post-concussion protocol and will play Sunday.
▪ Jaguars running backs Fournette (quadriceps) and Chris Ivory (back, elbow) are full-go for Sunday’s game. One receiver, Marqise Lee (ankle) is out while another, Allen Hurns (ankle), is questionable.