SANTA CLARA -- Carlos Hyde seems likely to miss his fifth straight contest with a stress fracture in his left foot, which raises the question: With five games remaining and the 49ers’ playoff chances unrealistic, why not use his roster spot for someone else?
The 49ers have a few candidates. Center Daniel Kilgore says he's ready to come off the physically-unable-to-perform list and stressed Wednesday he wants to play this season after more than a year spent rehabilitating his broken ankle.
The deadline to move Kilgore to the 53-man roster is Monday. That's also the deadline for activating rookie receiver DeAndre Smelter, who is more than a year removed from his ACL tear at Georgia Tech and who is now on the non-football injury list.
Jim Tomsula on Thursday said the plan is to give Kilgore more practice repetitions this week “and see where he’s at at the end of the week.”
The 49ers also could move one of two tight ends from the practice squad after their top tight end, Garrett Celek, suffered a high-ankle sprain. (Celek also could be moved to injured reserve). And a number of fans -- most of them from Australia -- are wondering why Jarryd Hayne is on the practice squad when the 49ers have obvious needs at running back.
Earlier in the week Tomsula said all options have been discussed among the coaching staff, the team's medical staff and Hyde. That includes having surgery, which is the normal course of action for an injury like Hyde's but one that certainly would end his season by placing him on injured reserve.
“Again, that’s been, all of that’s been on the table since the beginning," Tomsula said Monday. "So again, I listen to the doctors and the medical staff on where we need to go with that and what’s the best course of action. So right now, we’re at day-to-day with Carlos and finding out exactly what that foot’s responding to.”
Hyde was expected to practice following the team's Week 10 bye. However, he continued to feel soreness in the foot. He hasn't practiced in full since early October and Tomsula today said Hyde wouldn’t practice today.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the 49ers haven't scored a rushing touchdown since their Oct. 11 game vs. the Giants, which was when Hyde injured his left foot. He scored a two-yard touchdown at the end of the game.
Shaun Draughn, who played every offensive snap against the Cardinals Sunday, is expected to make his fourth straight start.