Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin is expected to return for the 49ers on Monday night against the Packers, giving quarterback C.J. Beathard a key target downfield.
However, the list of injured players on San Francisco’s offense continued to grow when the team returned to practice on Thursday.
San Francisco was without wideouts Pierre Garçon and Trent Taylor, and running back Matt Breida spent the afternoon rehabbing a left ankle injury on the side field. Offensive linemen Joe Staley, Weston Richburg and Mike Person were also absent.
That means the offense was without at least six starters, not including Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon, who were placed on injured reserve last month with ACL injuries.
“I think that’s something I haven’t been a part of much in my entire career,” coach Kyle Shanahan said of his team’s injury woes on offense.
Garçon temporarily left last week’s loss to the Cardinals with a shoulder injury and is also dealing with a knee injury. The 32-year-old has caught just 16 of his 33 targets (48.5 percent) on the season for just 188 yards. He hasn’t scored a touchdown since signing with the 49ers before the 2017 season.
Taylor’s injury bears monitoring and could cost him a couple weeks. The slot receiver had back surgery during the offseason and has struggled to separate from defenders like he did during his promising rookie campaign, when he proved invaluable on third downs.
“I think it’s been concerning all year,” Shanahan said of Taylor. “Any time you have a surgery on your back, whether they say it’s a big deal or a little deal, always when you’re dealing with your back it affects things. It’s not just your back always. It can trickle down to other parts of your body.”
Goodwin’s return would give the 49ers arguably their most dynamic receiving threat that can stretch defenses deep and create space elsewhere. He suffered a thigh injury in Week 1 and has played sparingly since. He missed last week’s game after a hamstring injury popped up against the Chargers. Goodwin has just five catches for 54 yards on the season after logging career highs with 56 reception for 962 yards in 2017.
Shanahan said Goodwin had to have fluid drained from his right thigh after suffering a deep bruise in the opener against the Vikings. He was running a crossing route when he collided with 316-pound defensive tackle Jaleel Joseph. The crash sent Goodwin spinning in the air.
“Just imagine,” Goodwin said, “you’re walking down the street, (as a) pedestrian, and you got the walk signal on, but a car just comes and rams you right in your leg. You got to recover from it.”
There was also good news regarding Breida. After Shanahan on Monday said he expected the second-year running back to be “doubtful” for Green Bay, he wouldn’t rule him out Thursday. Instead, Breida was termed day-to-day.
“Still keeping our fingers crossed for it,” Shanahan said.
Breida appeared to walk without a limp after leaving the loss to Arizona on the final play of the first quarter with a left ankle injury. It marked the third straight week he’s suffered an injury, including when he hyperextended his right knee against Kansas City and a shoulder ailment versus the Chargers.
The 49ers have not decided about making any roster moves to compensate for their injuries, though that could change later in the week.
“In order to bring other people in, you’ve got to put people on IR or let them go,” Shanahan said.
Limited during Thursday’s practice were: tight ends George Kittle (knee) and Garrett Celek (quadriceps), linebacker Reuben Foster (shoulder), cornerback Richard Sherman (calf) and defensive back Jimmie Ward (hamstring).