Arik Armstead, who went on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday, is expected to have surgery this week on his injured left shoulder, prompting the 49ers to reshuffle their defensive line.
On Wednesday, coach Chip Kelly said Quinton Dial, who has played nose tackle and defensive end in the team’s 3-4 base defense, will concentrate on defensive end.
Dial, first-round draft pick DeForest Buckner, fifth-round pick Ronald Blair and Tony Jerod-Eddie will rotate at the two end spots. After Armstead (Pleasant Grove High School) left Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints early in the first quarter, Blair mostly entered on passing downs and Jerod-Eddie played base downs.
Defensive tackle Chris Jones, claimed off waivers Tuesday, also could enter the rotation. But he just arrived Wednesday, and coaches have yet to evaluate him.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The nose tackle spot will be manned by Mike Purcell and Glenn Dorsey, who played a season-high 46 snaps against the Saints.
Armstead, a first-round pick in 2015, appeared to be one of the 49ers’ top defensive players when training camp began in July. He originally hurt his shoulder during training camp Aug. 7, and an MRI this week showed he aggravated the injury when he lunged to stop Saints running back Tim Hightower on the game’s first series. Among 49ers defensive linemen, Armstead’s 335 snaps this season rank second behind Buckner’s 406.
Kelly said he was unsure whether Armstead would be ready for the start of the offseason program in the spring.
“I think a lot of that will be determined when they go in (surgically),” he said.
Hyde still blue – Running back Carlos Hyde continues to be limited in practice as he recovers from a shoulder sprain suffered Oct. 16 against the Buffalo Bills..
Hyde has missed the last two games, and his status for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals will be determined after practice Saturday, Kelly said. The coach said Hyde’s range of motion and comfort level will be the deciding factors on whether he plays at Arizona.
DuJuan Harris got most of the carries against the Saints. His 142 yards from scrimmage (59 rushing and 83 receiving) were the most by a 49ers running back this season.
Injuries – Wide receiver Torrey Smith (back) practiced on a limited basis after sitting out Tuesday’s session. Like Hyde, linebacker Nick Bellore (shoulder) was in a blue no-contact jersey.
▪ Dial (knee, neck) and Dorsey (knee) were limited.
▪ Linebacker Aaron Lynch (ankle) and cornerback Rashard Robinson (knee) did not practice, and it appears they will not play Sunday.