By: C.J. Peterson
Special to S.F. Examiner
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Wednesday afternoon, Kyle Shanahan said that he’d be surprised if Joshua Garnett wasn’t back for the following day’s practice after the offensive lineman missed his fourth straight day of camp with a knee injury. That was two days ago. Garnett is still out.
Garnett, a first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, has been sidelined with what the team is calling a “knee contusion,” but according to Shanahan, Garnett will be seeking second opinions.
“There is concern,” said Shanahan. “Josh doesn’t feel right so that’s always worrisome when a player doesn’t feel right. I know Josh is getting a few second opinions so we’ll wait until our doctors talk with them and we’ll see what conclusion they come to.”
Garnett has had a less-than-impressive two years in San Francisco. The former Stanford tackle struggled mightily under Chip Kelly while the team went 2-14 for the second consecutive year in 2016. Then, he missed the entirety of the 2017 season after surgery on the same right knee that’s currently at issue.
“Josh went through a lot last year with his knee and took a season off treating it right,” said Shanahan. “He got himself ready to play and came in here and had a good OTAs, had a couple good practices and then he hit his knee. It’s worried him and I understand that. But, he doesn’t feel right and we’re trying to figure out what it is and hopefully we will.”
The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder entered camp last month competing to be San Francisco’s starting right guard — a position that has seen a revolving door of players over the past three seasons. By missing so much time, though, it may be hard for Garnett to even make the roster, let alone be effective as a starter.
“It’s tough to make this team when you’re not out there,” said Shanahan on Wednesday.
In Garnett’s place, the 49ers have put several offensive linemen at right guard to fill the hole but to no avail. Erik Magnuson and Mike Person saw reps at the position Friday, but neither made an impression as the offensive line, as a whole, had a rough practice.
False starts and poor blocking defined the day as the 49ers run game was nearly non-existent for much of the afternoon.
San Francisco is also looking to have former Dallas Cowboy Jonathan Cooper back at full-capacity after starting camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list due to a minor knee injury.
With rookie right tackle Mike McGlinchey also on that side of the offensive line, San Francisco will need to have a somewhat-formidable player next to him if they hope to keep Jimmy Garoppolo healthy throughout the year.
Unfortunately, things aren’t looking good when it comes to the option of Garnett. With this new setback, there’s no way of telling what his future could be on this team.