First, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) Wednesday. His test forced the shutdown of the team’s facility one day before the 49ers game against the Green Bay Packers. Then, two more players were later placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, crippling an already-thin Niners team.
The 49ers are decimated by injuries and COVID-19
The news just gets worse for the San Francisco 49ers. On Sunday, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and tight end George Kittle were injured in their game against the Seattle Seahawks and will miss significant time. The team also saw running back Tevin Coleman go down with a knee injury and he won’t be available for Thursday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel is also out with a hamstring injury.
Running back Raheem Mostert, who had a monster game against the Packers in last season’s NFC title game, is also out. Backup running back Jeff Wilson has also been placed on IR. The Packers have already left for San Francisco and the game, as of this writing, is on as scheduled.
This will hardly be the same Niners team that defeated the Packers to get to the Super Bowl last year. Nick Mullens will replace Garoppolo at quarterback. Mullens has appeared in two games this season, starting two. He has four touchdown passes and three interceptions. He is 1-1 this season in the games he started.
The Green Bay Packers are also impacted by COVID-19
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers better have that right arm ready to go Thursday night. The Packers could potentially be without their top three running backs. Starter Aaron Jones has missed the last two weeks with a calf injury and is a game-time decision.
AJ Dillion, a rookie running back and listed as third on the depth chart, is out. He tested positive for COVID-19 this week. His positive test also impacted No. 2 running back Jamaal Williams, who has filled in nicely with Jones out. Williams was considered a close contact of Dillion and, by NFL rules, was placed in the reserve/COVID-19 list and must also miss Thursday’s game.
If Jones is unable to go, the Packers will be severely hurting in their running attack. The job will fall into the hands of either Dexter Williams or Tyler Ervin. Williams was a sixth-round pick out of Notre Dame a year ago and has spent most of the season on the practice squad. Ervin was a running back in college, but has been used as a receiver and return man with the Packers.
The 49ers get even more bad news
On Wednesday night, it was announced that Deebo Samuel (already out with a hamstring injury), wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, and offensive tackle Trent Williams were also placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. All three were listed as close contacts to Kendrick Bourne, who tested positive for the virus Wednesday morning.
Aiyuk has really picked things up in the last two games for the 49ers. Last week, he was targeted 11 times and finished with eight catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. The week before, Aiyuk had his first 100-yard game, finishing with six catches for 115 yards.
Thursday’s game should be interesting if it is played. It’ll be a battle of backups with the 49ers having to dig the deepest into their reserves.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.