The San Francisco 49ers won their preseason opener on Thursday night, but they came up short in an area that is of paramount importance to the coaching staff: staying healthy.
The 49ers saw six players exit Thursday’s 24-21 win over the Dallas Cowboys because of various injuries.
Among the injured were tight end George Kittle (shoulder), linebackers Malcolm Smith (hamstring) and Eli Harold (knee), defensive tackle Solomon Thomas (concussion), offensive tackle Garry Gilliam (concussion) and backup running back Matt Breida (shoulder).
“It’s what scares you about training camp; it’s what scares you about the preseason,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters, per the San Francisco Chronicle. “You kind of just want the game to end when those things start happening, because you want those guys when the season starts. But we also need to practice and get better. So it’s just something you have to deal with.”
Kittle reportedly separated his right shoulder but the NFL Network reported on Friday that he did not sustain any structural damage. Kittle had 43 receptions and two touchdowns as a rookie a year ago.
Breida, who appeared in all 16 games as a backup during his rookie season in 2017, also is dealing with a shoulder injury. Shanahan said he expects Kittle and Breida to miss “some time.”
Smith, who missed the 2017 season after suffering a torn pectoral muscle in training camp, was hurt on the opening drive of the game.
Thomas, who started 12 games and recorded 3.0 sacks as a rookie, had to leave the field after he was kicked in the head in the first quarter.