Niners down to 2 WRs on active roster after Kendrick Bourne's positive COVID-19 test, contact tracing

Jack Baer
·Writer
·2 min read

The Green Bay Packers will potentially enter Thursday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers without their top three running backs, and the only two runners available have 79 combined career rushing yards.

They are unquestionably the better positioned team.

Whereas the Packers are extremely lacking in one position group, the Niners have further reinforced their position as the NFL’s most injury-ravaged team on Wednesday after a positive COVID-19 case and contact tracing all but wiped out their wide receiver depth chart.

Niners’ Kendrick Bourne tests positive for COVID-19

Niners wide receiver Kendrick Bourne was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday, and his agent confirmed reports that he had tested positive for the virus.

Bourne won’t be alone on the COVID-19 list, as starting left tackle Trent Williams, starting wide receiver Deebo Samuel and 2020 first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk were identified as players who were in close contact with Bourne, according to The Athletic’s Matt Barrows.

All three players are now on the reserve/COVID-19 list as well and will be out for Thursday’s games. These obstacles have basically been the story of their season.

The Niners are impossibly snakebitten

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 11: Kendrick Bourne #84 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates with Deebo Samuel #19 after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter of the NFC Divisional Round Playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings at Levi's Stadium on January 11, 2020 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Kendrick Bourne (left) and Deebo Samuel (right) are both out for Thursday. As are seemingly half the Niners' starters. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

For starters, here’s how the Niners’ wide receiver depth chart looked like going into last week’s game, and where each player is now:

Deebo Samuel (reserve/COVID-19 list)

Kendrick Bourne (reserve/COVID-19 list)

Brandon Aiyuk (reserve/COVID-19 list)

Dante Pettis (waived, claimed by Giants)

Trent Taylor (active with 49ers)

Richie James (active with 49ers)

That doesn’t even include wide receivers Jalen Hurd and Chris Thompson, who were already on injured reserve, nor the fact that James is also questionable with an ankle injury.

Right now, Taylor and James are the only wide receivers left on the team’s active roster, though practice-squaders River Cracraft and Chris Finke could conceivably be called upon to fill the gaps.

Compounding the problem is that starting running back Raheem Mostert, No. 2 tight end Jordan Reed and starting center Ben Garland are all on injured reserve. Starting quarterback Jimmy Garropolo, starting tight end George Kittle and No. 2 running back Tevin Coleman have also been ruled out for Thursday.

So that’s how the Niners’ offense is doing, down its starting quarterback, starting left tackle, starting center, top two running backs, top two tight ends and top however many wide receivers.

How’s the defense? Not much better. Currently on injured reserve are defensive linemen Nick Bosa, Ezekiel Ansah, Dee Ford and Solomon Thomas plus star cornerback Richard Sherman.

Best of luck on Thursday, Nick Mullens.

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