By Cam Inman
SANTA CLARA — Nick Bosa’s sack celebration consists of raising his hands to his chest and shrugging. That also reflects his up-in-the-air status for Sunday’s first career shot at Tom Brady.
A hamstring issue kept Bosa off the practice field all week, and he is officially questionable for Sunday’s visit by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Spotted walking outside the weight room as Friday’s practice began without him, Bosa does not visibly appear hindered and some teammates suspect he’ll play through what surfaced Monday as “hamstring irritation.”
“It was bothering Monday, it got looked into, and it’s legit,” coach Kyle Shanahan said.
Two months ago, Bosa missed two days of practice before emerging for the Friday session in West Virginia, then he missed their ensuing loss at Atlanta on Oct. 16, after which he said the plan all week was for him to not play.
So, do the 49ers again rest him rather than risk aggravating an injury? Do they save him for a more important NFC West showdown Thursday night in Seattle, where he’d have to play on an artificial surface he dislikes?
“You definitely have to take that into account,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It’s not just, ‘Will he be effective on a short week on Thursday?’ But, ‘Can he play in this and the next one with the doctors and himself saying it’s safe?’ We’re not there yet.”
Bosa is the 49ers’ biggest injury concern this week, aside from Jimmy Garoppolo starting his healing process from Sunday’s left-foot fracture that should sideline him into the playoffs; Garoppolo will not go on injured reserve to keep alive a long-shot chance at a comeback.
Garoppolo was ruled out, along with defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway (pectoral) and safety Tarvarius Moore (knee).
Bosa’s three sacks in Sunday’s 33-17 win over Miami earned him NFC Player of the Week honors, after he won the NFC’s monthly award for November.
Of the 23 quarterbacks Bosa has sacked in his overall NFL career, his most frequent prey is Matthew Stafford (6 1/2 sacks). Four times Bosa has sacked Aaron Rodgers, and three sacks have come against Kyle Allen, Kirk Cousins and, thanks to last Sunday, Tua Tagovailoa.
INJURED RESERVE OUTLOOK
Garoppolo (foot) and Ridgeway (pectoral) are in similar limbo in terms of staying off the injured reserve list, Shanahan said, adding: “We don’t have to make a decision right now so we’ll keep it that way until we have to.”
The 49ers have used 6-of-8 activations allowed off injured reserve. Those final two spots could be earmarked for running back Elijah Mitchell (knee) and defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (knee). Shanahan maintains that Lance is out for the season to rehabilitate his ankle.
The 49ers already have used short-term IR activations on Mitchell (last month, before his second knee sprain), defensive back Jimmie Ward, offensive lineman Colton McKivitz, defensive end Jordan Willis and linebackers Azeez Al-Shaair and Curtis Robinson.
“There’s a healing process that has to take place. How quickly that will heal, that’s in the good lord’s hands. We’ll sit back and see,” general manager John Lynch said on KNBR 680-AM. “We were encouraged, but Kyle also said it’s highly unlikely and a big ask.
“Jimmy’s got a bright future and a lot of years in front of him. We’re not going to put him in a bad position. So, we’ll continue to consult with the doctors and let them guide this decision.”
PURDY’S PROGRESS REPORT
How did Brock Purdy’s first week go in practice as the 49ers’ first-string quarterback, in place of Garoppolo, who reclaimed that role in Week 3 after Trey Lance’s ankle fracture?
“It’s been real good. Nothing’s really been different,” Shanahan said. “I mean, it’s a big difference not having Jimmy in there, but you have not felt like a rookie is coming in. He handled (this week) really well. We and the players expected him to, but you never know when a guy gets to the first week where everyone is looking at him. Sometimes they get nervous and players start to look at each other if it’s bad. BUt it wasn’t that case at all. He’s the same guy as he’s been.”
Purdy has prepared all season by staying after practice and mimicking plays on air while running through the script with an assistant. Shanahan said that type of extra work is essentially mandated for any backup to catch up on reps they aren’t afforded in actual practice.
In recalling Nick Mullens’ ascent as a replacement starter in 2018, Shanahan said: “We heard stories of him listening to music, we thought, before the game. We went up to listen to it, because we assumed he listened to lame music and we wanted to make fun of him. It was even lamer. It was me calling plays in his ear. That’s what he was listening to, just to get used to a call, so he could do it when he got it in the huddle.”
BUCS INJURY REPORT
The Buccaneers left Tampa on Friday with several key players on their injury report. Doubtful are right tackle Tristan Wirfs (ankle, foot) and safeties Antoine Winfield (ankle) and Mike Edwards (hamstring). Questionable are running back Leonard Fournette (foot), defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (foot), and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (quadriceps).
Source: Paradise Post