The 49ers will be without two key defensive starters for an extended period of time. Kyle Shanahan spoke with the media ahead of Wednesday's practice and revealed cornerback Richard Sherman's stint on Injured Reserve could last another five weeks. Sherman was placed on IR following the season opener with a calf injury and underwent injections to help aid in his recovery. A week removed from the minor "procedure," the cornerback isn't believed to return to the field until closer to the team's Week 11 Bye.
"Now he's in a boot just taking care of it, making sure it heals and let those take course," Shanahan said on Wednesday. "I thought it would be, I'd have more answers this week, but I still think it's going to be a few weeks on that.
"It's obviously going a little longer than we expected. (We've) got to play it smart with him, but I don't see it being week-to-week right now. I see it being probably until around our Bye week."
In addition to Sherman, the 49ers are still waiting on the pending return of edge rusher Dee Ford. Ford was dealing with a neck injury following the Week 1 match against the Arizona Cardinals which was later diagnosed as a back condition. The team has been cautious in his return, which according to Shanahan, also isn't likely until after Week 11.
"He's gotten the work he's needed. He's gotten the shots he's needed. He's resting it and now he's just starting to get back into some things, but still a ways away on that," Shanahan said.
As the team begins preparations for the New England Patriots on Sunday, the 49ers were without Kwon Alexander (ankle), Raheem Mostert (ankle), Jaquiski Tartt (groin) and Trent Williams (ankle) during Wednesday's practice. Williams suffered an ankle injury during the 49ers Week 6 win over the Los Angeles Rams and underwent imaging this week to determine its severity.
Fortunately, the results confirmed that the left tackle did not suffer a high ankle sprain. The 49ers will continue to assess Williams' ankle and if he will be available for Sunday's tilt in New England.
"It showed that nothing was broken and that it wasn't a high ankle, so that was good news," Shanahan said. "But still in too much pain to practice today. I know he'll be questionable throughout the week, so hopefully it'll get better each day, but it's not there yet."
Additionally, Dontae Johnson (groin) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (calf) were limited participants on Wednesday. Wilson Jr. could make a timely return in Week 7 with Mostert expected to miss multiple weeks.