SANTA CLARA, Calif. The San Francisco 49ers, already reeling from injury, put four players on the bench / COVID-19 on Wednesday and declared all four of them absent for Thursday night’s game against Green Bay Packers.
A federation source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that broad identifier Kendrick Bourne had tested positive for COVID-19, which he got on Wednesday morning after taking the test on Tuesday. Bourne was put on the bench / COVID-19 at the beginning of the afternoon on Wednesday afternoon when the tournament and the 49ers conducted additional contact tracking.
Early Wednesday evening, 49ers announced that left Trent Williams and recipients Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel would also be on the bench / COVID-19 and eliminate Aiyuk and Williams in Thursday’s match. Samuel was excluded because of a hamstring injury.
Williams, Aiyuk and Samuel are all considered close contacts of Bourne, a source from the tournament told ESPN, that’s why they were on the bench. Under NFL regulations, players deemed to be an closely related high risk must stay on that list for at least five days and continue testing.
Despite all that, Thursday’s game against Green Bay is expected to take place as scheduled, according to multiple federated sources. The Packers depart Green Bay around 4:30 pm CT and are scheduled to arrive in the Bay Area around 6:30 pm PT.
The 49ers held a walking, meet and practice session on Tuesday night in preparation for Thursday’s match. Upon learning of Bourne’s positive test results on Wednesday morning, the 49ers closed their facilities and became involved in the intensive NFL process. Nearly none of the team activities conducted on Wednesday, players and staff participated in the COVID-19 test driving.
“The health and safety of our players, employees, and communities is the organization’s highest priority,” 49ers said in a statement. “We will continue to work closely with the NFL and health professionals and will follow their lead.”
The loss of Bourne, Aiyuk and Williams only added to the list of 49 key players who would not be present in the Packers match. The team has been particularly severely affected by the wide-angle receiver, where they will lack Bourne, Samuel and Aiyuk apart from Dante Pettis, whom they released on Tuesday and the New York Giants announced on Wednesday.
The only healthy player on San Francisco’s list right now is Trent Taylor, though Richie James is likely to return from an ankle injury and is listed as problematic. The team is expected to lift recipients Kevin White, River Cracraft and Chris Finke from the training team and be able to trigger Jordan Reed, who has been restricted from training this week, from injury reserves. Justin Skule will join the ball at Williams.
In addition to the four players added to the COVID-19 roster, Niners will also not have the quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle), George Kittle (foot) and winger Tevin Coleman (knee), Raheem Mostert (ankle ) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle). That group already accounts for 71% of the team’s total training ground this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Thursday’s match against Green Bay was the first team encounter since the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 19. In that game, seven 49ers had an attacking collision on Mostert, Coleman, Garoppolo, Samuel, Bourne, Kittle and ran against Matt Breida, who has been exchanged with the Miami Dolphins for the season. None of them will wear a uniform for the Niners on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, Packers will not rerun AJ Dillon, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, while rerun Jamaal Williams and guard Kamal Martin were ruled out after they were also considered. Are people at high risk with Dillon.