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Arik Armstead returns to practice ahead of 49ers’ first playoff game

Jan 11, 2024 at 11:26 AM

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The San Francisco 49ers held their first of two practices this week before gearing up for their initial playoff opponent next week. Arik Armstead was among the players who participated in Thursday's session. The defensive tackle, nursing foot and knee injuries, has not played in a game since December 3.

Armstead could have played in Sunday's regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Rams if the 49ers were still vying for playoff positioning.

"He would've gone last week if we needed that," head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Tuesday. "That's why we were really pumped that we were able to get that (the top seed), so he didn't have to go last week. So just giving him this extra week, he's better right now than he was a week ago at this time. So hopefully, that extra week will give him enough to ease back into this and make him even better a week from now."

The 49ers will hold their final practice of the week on Friday. However, no portion of that session will be open to the media.

Armstead's return could provide a boost for the Super Bowl-hopeful 49ers as they embark on their latest playoff run. The team holds the top seed and home-field advantage in the NFC, securing a first-round bye in the playoffs. San Francisco awaits the weakest-seeded winner from the Wild Card round.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan already stated that the NFL's leading rusher, Christian McCaffrey, would not practice this week. He is nursing a calf injury but is expected to be ready for the Divisional Playoff round.

Additionally, based on observations from local media, defensive end Clelin Ferrell, linebacker Dre Greenlaw (Achilles tendonitis), safety Tashaun Gipson (quadricep), and offensive lineman Jon Feliciano (back) didn't participate in practice. Ferrell is expected to miss at least the 49ers' first playoff game due to a knee injury.

Regarding Ferrell's status, Shanahan told reporters, "It's possible to get him back sometime in the playoffs."

Other recovering 49ers who participated in the Thursday session include tight end George Kittle (back), safeties Ji'Ayir Brown (knee) and George Odum (biceps), cornerback Ambry Thomas (hand), and wide receiver Jauan Jennings (concussion).

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