SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Two key components of the San Francisco 49ers‘ starting backfield are returning to the fold Wednesday, as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Raheem Mostert were set to practice for the first time since leaving with injuries in Week 2.
Garoppolo and Mostert were expected to be listed as limited participants Wednesday, coach Kyle Shanahan said during his media availability. Though their status for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins is not clear, it is a step in the right direction for both players.
Earlier this week, Shanahan said he was unsure whether Garoppolo would practice this week and wanted to see where he was on Wednesday before making that determination. The team held a walk-through earlier Wednesday that was encouraging enough to give Garoppolo some reps in practice and made Shanahan more optimistic that he could play Sunday.
“He did a good job in walk-through, and we’ll see how he goes,” Shanahan said. “But we’re going to throw him in there today, and that will give me more of an opinion at least.”
Garoppolo has been out since suffering a right high ankle sprain early in the Week 2 win over the New York Jets. He did not practice either of the past two weeks as Nick Mullens stepped into the starting job.
Mullens led the 49ers to a win over the New York Giants in Week 3 but struggled last week in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble that eventually led to his benching. C.J. Beathard replaced Mullens and nearly led a last-second comeback against the Eagles.
Should Garoppolo be unable to play this week, Shanahan said he has decided on who would start in his place but wasn’t revealing his choice.
“I’m going to hold that just because there is a difference between them, and if Jimmy can’t go, I’d like Miami to find that out on Sunday,” Shanahan said. “But I’ve decided that. We’ll get both of them reps because both of them do have to be ready in case Jimmy doesn’t go.”
On Monday, Shanahan indicated he wasn’t so optimistic that Mostert (sprained knee) would be available against the Dolphins, but the running back is participating in the practice and moving closer to a return.
In addition to Garoppolo and Mostert, linebacker Dre Greenlaw (quadriceps), cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring) and wide receivers Dante Pettis (knee) and Trent Taylor will also be limited on Wednesday. Safety Jimmie Ward (wrist) and cornerbacks Emmanuel Moseley (concussion) and Dontae Johnson (groin) were not expected to participate.
As for cornerback Richard Sherman, who is eligible to return this week from injured reserve with a strained calf, Shanahan indicated that the Niners are unlikely to open his practice window for at least another week with an eye toward him playing in Week 6 against the Los Angeles Rams.
“He was hoping he could get back in practice this week,” Shanahan said. “Just looking at him yesterday and stuff, we’re gonna hold him a little bit longer. I’m hoping he continues to improve, and I’m hoping he’ll be ready for next week. I’ll be surprised if he got in later in this week.”
Shanahan confirmed that defensive end Nick Bosa and defensive tackle Solomon Thomas both have had their surgeries to repair torn left ACLs. Both players will miss the rest of the season.