By Sam McPherson
Injuries happen to every team, every season, so it was inevitable the San Francisco 49ers injury list would eventually start filling up as the games and weeks passed by this season. So it is now that the team has nine players listed on the official report for Week 4, including key players like NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks, Eric Reid and Vernon Davis.
The first three, of course, are important cogs in the San Francisco defense—which hasn’t looked good at all for the last two weeks. If the defensive bodies start dropping due to injury, it could be a long season at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers got a spirited and successful defensive effort in Week 1 at home, and the team will be looking for the same in Week 4 back in front of the friendly hometown crowd.
The bad news first: Linebacker NaVorro Bowman (non-football related issue) did not participate in Wednesday’s workouts and was a limited participant in Thursday’s sessions. More will be known after Friday’s workouts, but if Bowman can’t lock down the middle of the defense for San Francisco, it could mean 50 points for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Also of major concern on the defensive side is free safety Eric Reid, who was limited in practice on Thursday due to a hip problem. While Bowman anchors the linebacking corps, Reid does the same for the secondary. With the Green Bay offense’s ability to throw anywhere on the field, this is a situation worth watching for the 49ers defense.
The good news on defense is that cornerback Kenneth Acker (back), linebacker Ahmad Brooks (shoulder) and safety L.J. McCray (hip) are probable for Sunday’s home game. All three players were full participants on both Wednesday and Thursday in team workouts. That bodes well for San Francisco in Week 4.
Offensively, there is also mixed news, however: While it looks like running back Reggie Bush (calf) will return to the lineup against the Packers, the 49ers offense might be without tight end Vernon Davis (knee). Bush was able to participate fully this week in practice, and his presence will take some pressure off both quarterback Colin Kaepernick and running back Carlos Hyde.
The tight end situation is a little more dicey, as backup Vance McDonald (knee) is listed as probable. Davis did not practice at all on Wednesday or Thursday, while McDonald was a full participant both days. However, if McDonald’s injury acts up, the 49ers will be down to deep benchwarmers Garrett Celek and Blake Bell at the position.
Wide receiver Bruce Ellington’s ankle is just about healed, as he was able to practice fully on Wednesday and Thursday. Kaepernick had issues last week in Arizona when trying to connect with any receivers, but having Ellington in the fold for Sunday can only be a positive for San Francisco’s moribund passing game.
Kenneth Acker, Cornerback (back)
Ahmad Brooks, Linebacker (shoulder)
Reggie Bush, Running Back (calf)
Bruce Ellington, Wide Receiver (ankle)
L.J. McCray, Safety (hip)
Vance McDonald, Tight End (knee)
NaVorro Bowman, Linebacker (non-football related)
Vernon Davis, Tight End (knee)
Eric Reid, Safety (hip)
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball, golf, hockey and fantasy sports for CBS, AXS and Examiner. He also is an Ironman triathlete and certified triathlon coach.