Kyle Shanahan: Only God can explain 49ers injury problems

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers need help.

They’ve lost starters to injury. They’ve lost backups. And now they’ve lost a practice-squad player who was forced to play.

The team officially placed tight end Cole Hikutini (knee) and safety Jaquiski Tartt (broken forearm) on the injured reserve.

But that wasn’t it for the Niners’ injury list, which head coach Kyle Shanahan needed to write down to remember on Monday.

DJ Jones (knee), Aaron Lynch (calf), Solomon Thomas (knee), Dontae Johnson (shoulder), K’Waun Williams (quadricep), Kyle Juszczyk (neck), Joe Staley (eye) and Brandon Fusco (biceps) are questionable for this Sunday’s game against the New York Giants.

Elijah Lee (knee), Trent Taylor (ribs) and George Kittle (ankle) are all out already.

Taylor broke a rib and the team is hoping to get him back after the bye. In the meantime, the 49ers will use a committee for the slot-receiver position. The team also brought Louis Murphy back after cutting him after training camp.

Murphy was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 2009 and has 10 touchdown catches in his career.

To make up for the hole at tight end created by Kittle and Hikutini’s upcoming absence, the team brought Logan Paulsen back. The Niners first signed Paulsen in March. They waived him in October before signing him again two days later. They waived him again five days after that on Oct. 25.

Kittle was visibly hobbled during Sunday’s 20-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The training staff feared he had broken a bone in his leg. When an X-ray showed that wasn’t the case, the former University of Iowa Hawkeye took the field again, allowing the 49ers to play their regular formations.

“We didn’t ask George to do that, but he said he could go, and he went out there and he allowed us to function,” Shanahan said. “I earned a great deal of respect for him for him doing what he did.”

Seemingly resigned to his fate, Shanahan could only offer jokes when asked what he could point to that would explain all the injuries his team has had this year.

“You’ve got to ask God, because, I mean, we can guess, but no one knows for sure,” he said, referencing a joke he first made last week. “… I’ve never been a part of a team where it’s been like this, but teams do have to deal with this type of stuff all the time, especially this time of the year.”

Quarterback CJ Beathard, somehow, was just sore on Monday, despite taking 16 hits the day before.

jpalmer@sfexaminer.com

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