The initial prognosis indicates the 49ers caught a break with six-time Pro Bowler Joe Staley.
Staley, the team’s starting left tackle, left Sunday’s 29-27 loss to the Chargers in the second quarter with a right knee injury. Kyle Shanahan said Monday that Staley will begin this week questionable to play against the Cardinals, which indicates the injury isn’t expected to be long term.
However, the 49ers are dealing with a slew of injuries elsewhere, potentially leaving them thin against Arizona. Rookie right tackle Mike McGlinchey and center Weston Richburg are also dealing with knee injuries that have them questionable to play Sunday.
The good news: They both returned to action in Los Angeles after getting sidelined. The bad news: Left guard Laken Tomlinson is the only member of the team’s starting offensive line that hasn’t been nicked in recent weeks. RIght guard Mike Person has dealt with foot and knee injuries since the opener.
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Richburg, the team’s new high-priced center, slipped on the questionable turf at the multi-use StubHub Center and momentarily left the game during the first series before returning noticeably hobbled. The only snap he missed was negated by a false-start penalty on receiver Trent Taylor.
McGlinchey exited in the second quarter before returning in the third. He said after getting drafted he hadn’t missed a game since he played as a youth. But his absence led to guard Erik Magnuson being forced to play tackle, and coincided with the Chargers’ 20 straight points midway through the contest.
Additionally, receiver Marquise Goodwin will begin the week questionable with knee and thigh injuries. He missed Week 2 against Detroit with a deep thigh bruise suffered in the opener and momentarily exited Sunday, leaving the team without a natural “X” receiver, after Dante Pettis left with a knee injury.
Shanahan said Pettis isn’t expected to play this week and will be questionable for Week 6 in the Monday night game against the Packers.
The 49ers are also expecting running back Matt Breida and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, who both dealt with shoulder injuries, to be available this week. Same with Pierre Garçon after he came down with an ankle injury.
On the bright side, San Francisco is expecting the return of strong safety Jaquiski Tartt this week after missed the past two games with a shoulder injury. He’s been replaced by Antone Exum Jr., who sparked the 49ers with a pick-six on the first possession against L.A.
Shanahan also said he wasn’t expecting cornerback Richard Sherman to return from his calf injury this week, but wouldn’t rule it out.
And since Jimmy Garoppolo went down with his season-ending knee injury, the 49ers have not brought in a third quarterback as an additional insurance policy to C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens, who was recently promoted from the practice squad. The injuries might make adding another signal caller to the active roster unlikely.
“We got a bunch of situations were looking into,” Shanahan said. “Right now, I would love to answer the quarterback situation for everyone because you do want a third one in your building, whether that’s on the practice squad or on the roster. But there’s a lot of things that are taking precedent right now.”
San Francisco last week worked out a slew of veteran quarterbacks after Garoppolo went down, including former Texans starter Tom Savage, T.J. Yates and Matt Moore.
“We’re not sure about our left tackle, right tackle or center, (and) both of our safeties. It’s a real unusual roster situation that our guys out enough to put them on (injured reserve). All the guys except for Pettis are still questionable this week and I’d be surprised if they practiced until Friday. So there’s a lot of stuff up in the air to where I really can’t answer that right now. Just have to see what happens.”