DENVER — The San Francisco 49ers will be without two more key starters for the next month due to injuries to left tackle Trent Williams and linebacker Aziz Alshire in Sunday night’s loss to the Denver Broncos.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday that Williams could miss four to six weeks with a sore right ankle and Al-Shayer could miss about eight weeks with a torn MCL in his right knee.
Neither player is expected to need surgery, Shanahan said. A more definitive timetable for Williams will not be known until the swelling in his ankle subsides.
“High ankles usually say four to six [weeks] But sometimes they can be sooner and sometimes they can be longer, so that’s why we don’t have an exact date,” Sanahan said. “It’s too early to say.”
The Niners will wait to determine whether to place Williams on injured reserve due to what Shanahan called a “really bad” swelling. Shanahan said teams only get injured reserve and a certain number of players (eight) who return after four weeks each season. And since San Francisco has at least three players returning from injured reserve (running back Elias Mitchell, safety Jimmy Ward and tight end Jordan Willis) and will likely have to use a quarterback against Al-Shayer, he’d rather not. Same with Williams.
“We hope we don’t have to,” Shanahan said. “You only get so many of those and we want to make sure we save those. . . . We’ll see how it goes. If we’re going in a longer direction, we’ll have to make that decision.”
Al-Shayer’s situation is even clearer because the injury is comparable to what Mitchell suffered in the Week 1 loss to the Chicago Bears.
“[It’s] Shanahan said it was very similar to what Elijah did: “I know we gave Elijah — our estimate was around eight weeks.
Williams was injured with 9:53 left in the third quarter after Broncos linebacker DJ Jones rolled on the back of his right leg. A cart was brought out to take Williams to the locker room, but he refused, and he went to the dugout with the help of Niners medical personnel.
Al-Shayer’s injury came with 4:43 left in the second quarter.
The Niners traded Jaylon Moore, a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, for Williams, but he was later traded to Colton Mackiewitz, who was a fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. McKievitz could be the next man to replace Williams and could have started with the Broncos had he not suffered an ankle injury in practice last week, Shanahan said.
Shanahan has said he will not be a candidate to replace Williams, but the 49ers are expecting linebacker Daniel Brunskill to return to practice this week.
“I expect Mackiewitz to go,” Shanahan said. “If he hadn’t stumbled in practice and missed all those reps last week, maybe it would have been from the start. Maybe that will happen and hopefully Daniel will help us in.”
Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles came on for Al-Shayer against the Broncos, posting three tackles in the loss.