SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — While star quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will sit out another week recovering from a sprained ankle, the San Francisco 49ers will have both George Kittle and Deebo Samuel back in the lineup Sunday night when they take on the Philadelphia Eagles, head coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday.
Garoppolo has been sidelined with high ankle sprain suffered in the first half of the team’s Week 2 win over the New York Jets. Backup Nick Mullens shook off a year of rust and came on to lead the team to a victory in that game and followed with an even more impressive win over the New York Giants.
He tossed for 343 yards and engineered scoring drive on seven of the team’s first eight possessions.
“Every week’s kind of a new week,” Shanahan said. “You get a game plan on Wednesday that kind of overwhelm him a little bit on Wednesday, and that’s why we take a little bit longer to get out to the practice field, but it’s really kind of how you go Wednesday through Friday. He’s ready to go. He was real crisp all week.”
The 49ers head coach was a little more evasive when asked how close Garoppolo is to returning to the lineup and if the team was being cautious with their starting quarterback so early in the season.
“I think you should be (cautious), but you don’t think of it in terms of it’s a long season. There’s 13 more games to go,” he said. “The NFL, I mean, we started 8-0 and only lost three games and winning your division still comes down to the last play of the year. So I’ve been in this game too long to take any game for granted. So it’s not like you ever think in terms of, guys will talk that way and stuff, but anyone who has been in this league just reminds you that this game is just as important as Game 16.”
“So it (not playing Garoppolo) has more to do with can they protect themselves, are they risking a long term injury. If they are (I’m) definitely not (playing them).”
Samuel returned the practice field on Wednesday after being out for three months while recovering from a Jones fracture in his left foot suffered in a pre-season workout. His return will add much needed speed to the 49ers receiving corp and also a potent weapon on jet sweep running plays.
“We have to be smart with him,” Shanahan said when asked how much Samuel will play against the Eagles. “I won’t say there is a pitch count. Deebo was a starting receiver last year…I don’t expect him to be like that on Sunday. It is his first time back. We have to be smart with that.”
Kittle also returns after suffering an injured knee in the team’s opening season loss to Phoenix.
“It’s great getting Kittle back,” Shanahan said of his gifted tight end. “We were close last week and then you don’t. And I think that was what was tough a little bit about the Jordan Reed loss, because of how well he was playing and everything when we lost him during the game. But, being able to pull that off and still win and then get Kittle back this week, I think it excites guys a lot.”
The news wasn’t all good for the 49ers and their lengthy list of injured stars. Both Dee Ford, with a back injury, and Reed are likely to be added to the injured reserve list over the next 24 hours sidelining them for at least three more games.
Starting linebacker Dre Greenlaw, cornerback Emmanuel Moseley and running back Raheem Mostert all will be out for Sunday’s game.