Javon Kinlaw

49ers To Activate Elijah Mitchell, Azeez Al-Shaair, Colton McKivitz, Jordan Willis

NOVEMBER 11: The 49ers will be the first team to push up against the NFL’s new IR activation ceiling. They plan to activate Mitchell, Al-Shaair, McKivitz and defensive end Jordan Willis from IR, Kyle Shanahan said Friday, via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco (on Twitter).

With San Francisco having already used three of its injury activations — including one on Jason Verrett, who has since suffered another Achilles tear — the team will have one remaining beyond Week 10. Friday’s decision stands to affect how San Francisco manages its IR list going forward, as starting defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw is also on IR. Kinlaw is slated to return at some point this season, Shanahan said (via The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, on Twitter).

While the IR ramifications of Friday’s move will be interesting to monitor down the road, the team will have a host of key contributors back following its bye week.

NOVEMBER 7: Injuries and a rather notable trade defined the first half of the 49ers’ season, but the contending team will have some reinforcements available soon.

The 49ers designated running back Elijah Mitchell, linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair and backup tackle Colton McKivitz for return from IR on Monday. Each member of this trio is in the final stages of rehab from an MCL sprain. Of the three, Al-Shaair may be closest to returning. The fourth-year linebacker categorized himself as a bit ahead of schedule and expects to play against the Chargers on Sunday night, via ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner (on Twitter).

San Francisco has already used three of its injury activations this season, so some more complex navigation may begin to come into play here. Under the NFL’s new IR-return system, teams are allotted eight activations per season. It is safe to assume Mitchell and Al-Shaair will be back, with the former set to complement Christian McCaffrey and the latter the team’s No. 3 linebacker behind Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw. It will be interesting to see if the 49ers activate McKivitz, who is the swingman behind Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey, or gives him the full three-week timetable partially to gauge how its injury situation looks later in November.

Mitchell began the season as San Francisco’s starting back but did not make it through Week 1. The 49ers found a talented player in last year’s sixth round, moving Mitchell past third-rounder Trey Sermon on their depth chart from the jump. The Louisiana product totaled 963 rushing yards in just 11 games as a rookie but has battled extensive injury trouble as a pro. Shoulder, rib, finger and knee injuries led to Mitchell missing six games last season.

After trading Jeff Wilson to the Dolphins, however, the 49ers are thinner at running back. Mitchell returning would help the cause. Third-round rookie Tyrion Davis-Price, who was not placed on IR following his high ankle sprain, should be expected to factor into the newly McCaffrey-headlined backfield equation soon as well.

Al-Shaair is in a contract year and saw the 49ers lock down Greenlaw. With Warner signed long term, Al-Shaair could be auditioning for other team’s during this season’s second half. He started 13 games last season but has been out since Week 3 this year. McKivitz started one game in place of Williams this year but went down with his knee injury. The former fifth-round pick is signed through 2023.

Arik Armstead Rehabbing Hairline Fracture

The 49ers figure to return from their Week 9 bye much healthier. They designated three players — Elijah Mitchell, Colton McKivitz, Azeez Al-Shaair — to return from IR and saw a few others return to practice this week. Arik Armstead was not in either group.

Armstead, who has not played since Week 4, remains sidelined. Kyle Shanahan specified what the veteran defensive lineman is battling for the first time this week, indicating Armstead is working his way back from a stress reaction and hairline fracture in his left fibula, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes.

While not on the same level as a broken leg, this hairline fracture has defined Armstead’s eighth NFL season. The 49ers having not placed the former first-round pick on IR provides some indication the team expects him back, but Armstead has already missed four straight games because of this injury. Armstead, 29, also dealt with a foot injury this season. His absence has hurt the 49ers, who have shown elite defensive capabilities when they are relatively close to full strength.

San Francisco has been shorthanded at every defensive position over the course of this season. The team has been hardest at defensive tackle. Both Week 1 starters — Armstead and Javon Kinlaw — have missed much of this campaign. Still, San Francisco enters Week 10 ranked atop the league in total defense. During games Armstead has played, the 49ers are allowing 2.8 yards per carry. In games he has missed, the total ballooned to 3.8, per Branch.

Injuries plagued Armstead during the early part of his career. He missed eight games in 2016 and 10 in 2017. But the former No. 17 overall pick suited up for every 49ers contest from 2018-21. The 49ers re-signed Armstead to a five-year, $85MM deal on the same day — March 16, 2020 — they agreed to trade DeForest Buckner to the Colts. The elder Oregon alum has rewarded the 49ers’ faith, being a key part of their Nick Bosa-led defensive lines over the past four seasons. Pro Football Focus ranked Armstead as a top-20 interior D-lineman from 2019-21.

Kinlaw is on IR. Swelling and soreness in the former first-rounder’s surgically repaired did not recede as quickly as the team anticipated, according to The Athletic’s Matt Barrows (subscription required). The third-year D-tackle has been out since Week 3. The 49ers have used three of their injury activations already. Activating Mitchell, Al-Shaair, McKivitz and defensive end Jordan Willis, who returned to practice on Wednesday, would limit the team’s flexibility down the stretch. It would surprise to see all four activated, but each being back at practice puts that scenario in play. Those activations, as teams can only move eight players off IR this season, could affect Kinlaw’s chances of playing again this season. It will be interesting to see how the 49ers proceed here.

The 49ers released Dee Ford after he ran into chronic injury trouble. Kinlaw, who underwent reconstructive knee surgery during the 2021 season, has seen a lingering injury alter his career path as well. With Kinlaw acknowledging knee pain would be an issue again this season, his 2022 absence stands to have a bigger impact on his career compared to Armstead’s. The 49ers have used Kevin Givens and Hassan Ridgeway as their primary DTs this year. Kinlaw will be eligible to return to practice next week, though it is uncertain the South Carolina alum will be ready.

49ers Place DT Javon Kinlaw On IR

The 49ers have determined Javon Kinlaw will need another IR stay. After spending much of last season on IR, the third-year defensive tackle is back on the team’s injured list as of Saturday.

Kinlaw is still dealing with problems related to his surgically repaired knee. The former first-round pick said recently he expected to be playing through some knee pain this season, but the 49ers have been without him for the past two games. That run will extend to at least six, with Kinlaw being forced to miss four additional games due to being placed on IR today.

Drafted 14th overall shortly after the 49ers traded Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to obtain that draft position, Kinlaw has not panned out. He missed 13 games last season and has 1.5 career sacks, which came during his rookie campaign. The South Carolina alum has battled intermittent knee trouble since his college days. A 2020 first-round choice, Kinlaw appeared in 14 games (12 starts) in his rookie year, but needed season-ending knee surgery (which was later reported to be an ACL reconstruction) early during the 2021 season.

Kinlaw and Arik Armstead entered the season as San Francisco’s defensive tackle starters. Both are out of the picture for the time being. Armstead remains on the 49ers’ 53-man roster but has missed two of the past three games due to injury. A foot problem is currently plaguing the eighth-year D-lineman. It is among the many injury issues affecting what has been a dominant 49ers defense.

Nick Bosa is uncertain to play in Week 6, while linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair is on IR due to an MCL sprain. The team will be without cornerback Emmanuel Moseley for the rest of the season — Moseley is now on IR — and will see Jimmie Ward likely sidelined for multiple games due to a broken hand. Ward, who missed the season’s first four games due to a hamstring injury, broke his hand on the first play of his debut last week.

49ers DTs Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw To Miss Time

The 49ers presently boast the best defense in the league in terms of yards per game, but their DL depth is about to be tested in a big way. As Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (subscription required) writes, starting defensive tackles Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw are expected to miss at least the next two games.

Armstead, who is dealing with a foot injury, could be placed on injured reserve, which would require that he miss at least four contests. The 2015 first-rounder had been dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot and now has a left ankle ailment as well. He missed the club’s Week 3 loss to the Broncos, and while he started the Niners’ Week 4 victory over the Rams, he was forced to leave that game in the fourth quarter.

Until this season, Armstead had been a highly durable player. From 2018-21, he did not miss a single regular season contest and consistently received high marks from Pro Football Focus. If PFF’s grades are any indication, however, Armstead’s foot problems are having an impact on his play. He has struggled to a 52.9 overall grade in an admittedly small sample size this season after posting marks of at least 74.2 since 2018.

Kinlaw, meanwhile, has battled intermittent knee trouble since his college days. A 2020 first-round choice, Kinlaw appeared in 14 games (12 starts) in his rookie campaign, but he played in just four contests in 2021 before undergoing season-ending knee surgery (which was later reported to be an ACL reconstruction). Unlike Armstead, Kinlaw did play in the Denver contest, though he has been on the field for just one practice since then due to a fluid buildup in his surgically-repaired knee.

Given the nature of the surgery, neither Kinlaw nor head coach Kyle Shanahan were surprised by this setback, and Kinlaw acknowledged he would be dealing with some ups and downs throughout the year. Still, this is unwelcome news for a team that invests significant resources into its defensive front and that has been relying heavily on its defense through the first quarter of the season.

In the absence of Armstead and Kinlaw, Kevin Givens and Hassan Ridgeway will serve as the starting DTs.

49ers DT Maurice Hurst Tore Biceps, Expected To Miss Season

Maurice Hurst‘s bad luck with the 49ers continues. The defensive tackle tore his biceps during practice on Friday and will have to undergo surgery, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (on Twitter). The injury will likely sideline Hurst for the entire 2022 season, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Hurst was a fifth-round pick by the Raiders in 2018, and he ended up spending three seasons with the organization. After collecting 31 tackles and four sacks in 13 games (10 starts) as a rookie, Hurst only started seven games and compiled four more sacks in his final two seasons with the Raiders.

The 27-year-old caught on with San Francisco last offseason. Hurst started the season on injured reserve after suffering a high ankle sprain during the preseason. He returned for a pair of games before nursing a calf injury the rest of the way. Hurst re-signed with the 49ers in March, inking a veteran salary exception worth a bit more than $1MM. The team later released and re-signed the defensive tackle to save a chunk of cash.

Heading into training camp, defensive tackle looked like an area of strength for the 49ers. Now, the team is down three players at the position. Besides Hurst, Hassan Ridgeway is dealing with a quad injury and is out of practice, while Arik Armstead‘s sprained knee will sideline him for a few weeks. Fortunately, Javon Kinlaw will return to practice after recovering from a knee sprain, but as Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets, the former first-round pick will be on a “pitch count” for at least the next few practices.

Injury Notes: 49ers, Jets, Rams

We learned earlier today that a torn quad will sideline 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey for the rest of the season, and the injury hits keep coming for San Francisco. Per head coach Kyle Shanahan, both wideout Mohamed Sanu and Tavon Wilson will likely miss some time (per Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury on Twitter).

Sanu suffered a knee sprain during the third quarter of yesterday’s loss to the Cardinals, and Shanhan said the wideout will be out for a while. The veteran receiver had established himself as the third receiver this season, hauling in 15 catches for 177 yards through eight games. The likes of Jauan Jennings and Trent Sherfield could see increased reps while Sanu is out of the lineup.

Wilson suffered a foot injury that will likely require an IR trip. The veteran safety was already starting in place Jimmie Ward, so the team will have to rely on their depth while the two defensive backs are sidelined. Wilson has seen time in eight games this season, although Week 9 was the first time he got significant playing time on defense.

Some more injury notes from around the NFL:

  • The 49ers provided some additional context on defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw‘s recent knee operation (via ESPN’s Nick Wagoner on Twitter). Team doctors noted “that the ACL has chronic changes that would be best treated with ACL reconstruction.” The organization believes this alternative route will provide Kinlaw with the best chance to play during the 2022 season.
  • Both Zach Wilson and Mike White will both return to Jets practice this week, reports Brian Costello of the New York Post (via Twitter). It remains to be seen who will be the starting quarterback against the Bills this weekend. It sounds like the team is likely to play it safe with Wilson, meaning White could get another chance to start.
  • Rams wideout Jacob Harris will miss the rest of the season following ACL and MCL injuries, per Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic (via Twitter). The fourth-round pick was a wideout in college but has been playing tight end since joining the NFL. He’s only played 15 offensive snaps this season, but he got into nine games as a special teamer.

49ers Place S Jaquiski Tartt On IR

More bad news for the 49ers’ defense. Shortly after Kyle Shanahan confirmed season-ending surgery was on tap for Javon Kinlaw, they placed the second-year defensive tackle on IR. Jaquiski Tartt will join Kinlaw on San Francisco’s injured list.

Tartt should not be expected to miss the rest of the season, having suffered a knee contusion against the Colts. But the veteran safety is down for at least the next three games. A seventh-year veteran, Tartt has made 56 regular-season starts but has dealt with injuries for most of his career.

This is a familiar transaction for Tartt, who missed time due to injury in each of the 49ers’ past four seasons. A broken arm moved Tartt to IR in 2017, and a shoulder malady shelved Tartt for part of the 2018 season. A rib injury cost Tartt four games in 2019, though he returned for the 49ers’ three playoff contests, and a turf toe bout ended his 2020 campaign. The turf toe issue dragged into this summer’s training camp, with Tartt beginning on the 49ers’ active/PUP list. He returned in time for Week 1, but more injury trouble has intervened.

Overall, Tartt missed 28 games from 2017-20. These setbacks have not shaken the 49ers’ confidence in Tartt. They extended the former seventh-round pick in 2018 and gave him another new deal this year. The most recent Tartt contract only runs through season’s end, however.

Tartt joins Kinlaw and linebacker Dre Greenlaw on IR. The 49ers will also be without Dee Ford and starting linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair for Week 8. Rotational defensive lineman Kevin Givens is back on San Francisco’s active roster, however, after his IR stay. The 49ers also promoted tight end Jordan Matthews and safety Kai Nacua from their practice squad.

49ers’ Javon Kinlaw Done For Year 

49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw will undergo season-ending knee surgery, per a club announcement. Kinlaw will be placed on the injured reserve list and likely replaced with another interior lineman.

Kinlaw, who has battled intermittent knee trouble for years, met with a specialist in Los Angeles last week. He was told that surgery was likely, and an additional check confirmed the bad news for the former first-round pick.

There’s lot things went into it and what they found. Good news is they think they solved the problem,” said head coach Kyle Shanahan (Twitter link via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News).

Kinlaw has yet to fill DeForest Buckner‘s shoes in SF. So far, the second-year pro has taken a backseat to Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Arik Armstead and the rest of the Niners’ standout linemen. His season will end with just eight tackles in four games.

On the plus side, quarterback Trey Lance may be able to face the Bears this weekend. Left tackle Trent Williams is also expected to play as the 49ers look to snap their four-game losing streak.

Season-Ending Surgery On Table For 49ers DT Javon Kinlaw

While injuries have not plagued the 49ers quite like they did last season, the team has still battled maladies on key fronts this year. One of the 49ers’ young starters is undergoing a key evaluation that stands to determine his availability for the season’s remainder.

Javon Kinlaw is visiting a specialist in Los Angeles, and Kyle Shanahan said (via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch, on Twitter) a season-ending knee surgery is on the table. The 2020 first-round pick missed the 49ers’ Week 6 game with the knee problem and has battled intermittent knee trouble for years.

Drafted to fill the spot vacated by last year’s DeForest Buckner trade, Kinlaw is a work in progress. The South Carolina product missing the rest of this season would certainly set his development back and strip the 49ers of a key D-line performer. Despite their four-game losing streak, the 49ers have had top front-four principals Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and Arik Armstead available throughout the season. Bosa and Ford combined to play in just three games last year, placing a low ceiling on San Francisco’s pass rush.

Kinlaw initially suffered this knee injury in December 2020 but entered the NFL with a history of knee issues from college. Knee pain caused Kinlaw to leave the 2020 Senior Bowl workouts early and skip position drills at last year’s Combine. The 49ers signed off on him and used him as a 12-game starter as a rookie. But Kinlaw missed the 49ers’ final two games last season and was absent in Week 1 of this season because of knee issues.

The interior D-lineman has not been productive this year, having eclipsed one tackle in just one of the four games he’s played. But the 49ers obviously made a big investment in Kinlaw and cannot afford many more bad breaks during a season that is heading south.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/27/20

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: WR Diontae Spencer; Spencer tested positive for the coronavirus.

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers