SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The 49ers won’t be missing any players due to injuries in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.
Tight end George Kittle, who missed Wednesday’s practice with a sore ankle, and defensive end Dee Ford, who’s been handled carefully while working back from a hamstring injury, are expected to be available against the Green Bay Packers.
The same is true for linebacker Kwon Alexander, who returned off injured reserve last week against the Vikings from a torn pectoral. He was a limited participant in all three practices this week in a blue noncontact jersey.
“No injuries to report. So, everyone’s full-go, good to go,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday.
In fact, the team didn’t issue a status report heading into the game because all 53 players will be healthy and available. No players were listed as questionable, out or doubtful for the first time all season.
San Francisco on Friday had all 53 members of the active roster practice in the last session of the week in Santa Clara.
The only Week 1 regulars the team will be without is center Weston Richburg (torn patellar tendon) and nose tackle D.J. Jones (high ankle sprain), who both went on injured reserve following the Dec. 8 victory against the New Orleans Saints.
Having a healthy roster is good news for the team’s new head of player health and performance, Ben Peterson, who was hired in the offseason as the 49ers revamped their medical and training staffs. Peterson worked previously with the Flyers of the NHL while prioritizing sports science and brought modernized methods to San Francisco.
Notably, the 49ers wanted more cohesion between the weight room and training room. There were disconnects between the strength and conditioning staff and the medical side during the past two seasons, so the 49ers opted to bring in Peterson to run the entire operation and meld the two departments together.
It led to being conservative with players throughout the season and prioritizing rest and recovery. Players were put on personalized plans based on their injury histories, work loads and positions.
It all appears to be paying off entering the biggest game of the season as the process was a new one Shanahan in his third full season as head coach.
“I get it — then you try to balance that out with (practice) reps and stuff,” Shanahan said. “In the long run you get to the same point, it’s just how you get there. And it all made a lot of sense. I think it did help us. We still had a number of injuries, too, this year. But I don’t think that’s always up to trainers and stuff. I think most of that’s up to God or whoever decides that stuff. But, I know we did as good as we could with that stuff.”
Ben Garland on Sunday will start his fifth-straight game in Richburg’s place. Veteran Earl Mitchell, who played well in limited snaps last week against Minnesota, will continue to replace Jones after being signed just before the playoffs.
The Packers have a similar bill of clean health. Their fullback, Dan Vitale (knee), is the only player listed as questionable, which means right tackle Bryan Bulaga will be back in the starting after missing last week’s win over the Seattle Seahawks with an illness.
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