The 49ers are bracing for the likelihood of being without running back Matt Breida when they travel to play the Green Bay Packers next Monday night, coach Kyle Shanahan said.
Breida left San Francisco’s 28-18 loss to the Cardinals Sunday with a sprained left ankle, though it appears the injury is less severe than initially anticipated. Breida had his ankles re-taped and did some light running on the sideline before heading to the locker room.
“There was positive news,” said Shanahan. “It’s not a high ankle sprain, but it’s still a serious sprain. (Breida will) probably end up being doubtful this week.”
That could mean the 49ers add another running back to the 53-man roster before the trip to Green Bay. The team on Monday worked out Jeremy McNichols, among other unnamed players, after McNichols spent last season on the practice squad and stuck with the team during its recent training camp. He failed to make the team through final cuts. Practice squad member Jeff Wilson will also be considered.
But Shanahan is still evaluating the rest of the team’s health before making another roster move. The 49ers still want to add another quarterback in lieu of losing starter Jimmy Garoppolo for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee.
“We’re looking at a guy who’s got a chance to play if C.J. (Beathard) went down and Nick (Mullens) was going (to play),” Shanahan said. “So he’s got to be an immediate backup right away. You’d love to ideally find that as a practice squad guy, but we haven’t been able to do that.”
The team elevated Mullens from the practice squad to work as the backup behind Beathard — and an open spot on the practice squad remains. The 49ers haven’t carried three quarterbacks on the active roster since Shanahan became coach in 2017.
Breida still leads the NFL averaging 7.5 yards per carry. He suffered his injury during a three-yard run on the final play of the first quarter. He started the game with eight carries for 56 yards and seemed on his way to a career afternoon. His injury forced San Francisco to rely on veteran Alfred Morris, who averaged just 3.4 yards on 18 carries, and Raheem Mostert, who lost a crucial fumble in the second quarter.
Shanahan opened his Monday news conference listing nine other players who are currently dealing with injuries and will get re-checked by the medical staff before resuming practice on Thursday, not including receiver Dante Pettis, who will miss his second consecutive game with a knee injury.
Those players: left tackle Joe Staley (knee), center Weston Richburg (knee), right guard Mike Person (knee), tight end Garrett Celek (quad), tight end George Kittle (knee), receiver Marquise Goodwin (thigh, hamstring), cornerback Richard Sherman (calf), defensive back Jimmie Ward (hamstring) and linebacker Reuben Foster (shoulder).
The 49ers will push their normal schedule back a day with the next game coming on Monday, meaning they will hit the practice field Thursday through Saturday, before flying to Green Bay Saturday afternoon.