Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks will not play Sunday against the Giants following the death of his older sister, Brooks’ agent, Gregory Williams, said Thursday.
The 49ers would not corroborate the report, saying only that Brooks’ status is unknown. Still, it seems unlikely Brooks, who is in Louisiana, will be able to practice with the team this week, which typically is a prerequesite for playing.
“We’ll just have to see how it goes at the end of the week,” defensive coordinator Eric Mangini said. “Obviously all our thoughts and prayers are with Ahmad, and we’ll see how it goes. Knowing Ahmad and the way that he’s worked, he’s someone I feel comfortable with being able to pick things up quickly and contribute. But that’s really secondary right now.”
Brooks left the team earlier this week to be with his family, and Jim Tomsula said Wednesday he didn’t know Brooks’ status for the game. “Keep him in our prayers,” the 49ers’ head coach said.
Brooks’ sister, Krsunthia Brooks-Childs, reportedly died of complications of lupus. He has another sibling, brother Perry Brooks Jr. Their father, Perry Sr., who died in 2010, played for New England and Washington in the 1970s and 1980s. Brooks-Childs’ service may not be until Monday, Williams said.
Without Brooks, Aaron Lynch and Corey Lemonier will start at outside linebacker against New York.
Lynch is coming off his best game of the season, in which he sacked Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers twice and was credited with an additional quarterback hit. Lynch and Brooks had been asked to drop into pass coverage in previous games but concentrated more on rushing the quarterback against the Packers.
“That’s our defense – we drop back in coverage,” Lynch said Thursday. “But I mean, we love being able to rush the passer. That’s what we’d rather do because we’re pass rushers. That’s what we did in college, what we did in high school, and that’s what we like to do.”
Lynch, a fifth-round pick last year, leads the 49ers with three sacks. Lemonier, a third-round pick in 2013, has one career sack, during his rookie season.
“He’s young, so there’s a lot of things that he’s seeing for the first time, especially out of the base (defense),” Mangini said of Lynch. “He played more nickel last year. But I liked what Aaron did. ... He understands how all the defenses work together. He’s got a great upside.”
Staley absent again – Tackle Joe Staley missed his second consecutive practice after suffering a knee injury Sunday against the Packers. Fellow offensive lineman Alex Boone (ankle) missed Wednesday’s session but was on hand Thursday.
On Wednesday, Tomsula said both players were “fine.”
“We just need to make sure,” he said. “Boone got that ankle rolled up, and Joe got rolled up on the leg. So just going to give it that extra day here today. They’re going to do all the walk-throughs and everything, and then they’ll be out there (Thursday).”
If Staley can’t play Sunday, Boone likely will start at left tackle and either Ian Silberman or Brandon Thomas will fill in at left guard.
In addition to Boone, wide receiver Quinton Patton (concussion) returned to practice. Patton was wearing a blue, non-contact jersey, signaling that he is progressing through the league’s post-concussion protocol.
Tight end Vernon Davis (knee) and linebacker NaVorro Bowman (veteran day Wednesday) also were at Thursday’s practice.