Armstead expected to return from injury for 49ers' playoff run

Armstead expected to return from injury for 49ers' playoff run originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

In clinching the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed a week early, the 49ers bought some more recovery time for defensive tackle Arik Armstead.

“He would’ve gone last week if we needed that,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “And that’s why we were really pumped that we were able to get that [the No. 1 seed] so he didn’t have to go last week.

“Giving him that extra week, he’s better right now than he was a week ago at this time.”

As Armstead appears ready to return to action, the 49ers figure to be without starting defensive end Clelin Ferrell for “a few weeks” due to a knee injury, Shanahan said.

Ferrell, who started all 17 games for the 49ers this season, is not expected to be available for the team’s first playoff game on the weekend of Jan. 20-21.

“It’s possible to get him back some time in the playoffs,” Shanahan said.

Defensive end Chase Young, a midseason acquisition from the Washington Commanders, is likely to step into the team’s starting lineup in place of Ferrell.

Second-year player Drake Jackson remains on injured reserve with a knee condition and is not ready to return, Shanahan said.

“Our goal was to get out of that game healthy, and we got some guys banged up, but Cle is the one that we’ll lose most likely for at least a game,” Shanahan said. “After that, we didn’t lose anyone else in the game, and it looks [as if] we’re getting most of these guys back who missed the game.”

Armstead tops the list of players expected to return for the opening of the postseason.

He sat out the final five games of the regular season due to foot and knee issues. Armstead is scheduled to return to practice Thursday after checking out well during a workout on Tuesday, Shanahan said.

“He’s doing better,” Shanahan said. “He looked good today. That was the test, and that’s why we’re going to get him in to practice Thursday. And hopefully it goes well, and we’ll get him in a little bit Friday.”

Running back Christian McCaffrey will not practice this week due to a mild calf strain, but Shanahan said he fully expects him ready to practice next week.

Wide receiver Jauan Jennings, who sat out the final three games of the regular season, has been cleared out of the NFL’s concussion protocol and should be back on the field.

Safeties Ji’Ayir Brown (knee) and Tashaun Gipson (groin) have chances to get back on the practice field this week as the 49ers wait to find out their opponent for the first round of the playoffs.

Cornerback Ambry Thomas underwent surgery to repair his fractured hand last week. He will be back on the practice field this week.

Also, the 49ers could get backup safety and core special-teams contributor George Odum back. The 49ers will open Odum’s practice window this week after he was placed on injured reserve in late November.

Tight end George Kittle (back spasms) and linebacker Dre Greenlaw (Achilles tendinitis) sat out the 49ers’ Week 18 game as precautions and likely will have a light workload this week. Offensive lineman Jon Feliciano is “day to day” with back issues.

Practice squad safety Tayler Hawkins, who was elevated to play against the Los Angeles Rams, sustained a wrist injury that will require surgery.

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