San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch delivered the bad news on Friday, December 15.
Defensive linemen Arik Armstead and Javon Hargrave likely will sit out Sunday’s Week 15 game against the Arizona Cardinals due to injury, Lynch confirmed during an interview with KNBR.
Armstead (foot, knee) and Hargrave (hamstring) haven’t practiced all week, but Lynched hinted at a small chance of Hargrave’s return.
“We haven’t figured that one out yet,” Lynch said regarding Hargrave, “but he injured his hamstring, so I think it would be a reach for him to play this week, but we’ll see.
“He’s got the right mindset, where he very much wants to play. But we got to be smart with that one. You don’t want those things to linger,” Lynch added.
San Francisco also has cornerback Charvarius Ward sidelined from practice this week due to a groin injury. It will come down to Friday’s practice, Lynch noted.
“Charvarius was comfortable to go back in the [Seattle Seahawks] game if we needed him,” Lynch said. “He hasn’t practiced yet this week. Today is going to be a big day to see where we can get him, and we still have time.”
“So Charvarius is very much in play, and we haven’t figured that one out, yet,” Lynch added.
San Francisco could have up to five defensive starters out against the Cardinals. Linebackers Oren Burks (knee) and Dre Greenlaw (hamstring) also haven’t practiced this week.
Niners defensive coordinator Steve Wilks previously said in Thursday’s press conference that he anticipates Greenlaw playing against the Cardinals, however.
49ers Backups Will Need to Step Up in Arizona
San Francisco’s defensive backups may make or break their team’s chances in the desert on Sunday.
Backup defensive linemen Kevin Givens and/or Javon Kinlaw could start, and Kalia Davis could also see an increase in snaps. Givens has 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks this season, Kinlaw has 18 tackles and 2.5 sacks this year, and Davis has a tackle and a sack in two game appearances this fall.
If Ward has to sit, the 49ers could turn to cornerback Ambry Thomas and use Isaiah Oliver for nickel formations. Thomas has 28 tackles, a forced fumble, six pass deflections, and an interception this season. Oliver has 34 tackles, an interception, and two pass deflections this year.
Niners Linebacker Dee Winters Is Ready, Steve Wilks Says
49ers rookie LB Dee Winters has some real sideline to sideline speed 👀 pic.twitter.com/UQGpJ2O8a3
— Brad (@Graham_SFN) August 15, 2023
San Francisco rookie linebacker Dee Winters will see significant snaps on Sunday, and Wilks says he’s ready.
“Well, you know Dee is definitely up. He does a good job on special teams. I have total confidence if he has to go in there and play. He’s played sparingly this year, particularly late in the game, so I have a lot of confidence in him,” Wilks told reporters on Thursday.
The 49ers selected Winters with a sixth-round pick out of TCU in the 2023 NFL Draft. Winters has five tackles amid 30 defensive snaps, and he has played 58% of the special teams snaps thus far.
“I think he’s gotten so much better. I think [linebackers coach] Johnny [Holland] has done a tremendous job in just the teaching and the progression [for Winter],” Wilks said.