The Green Bay Packers have been no strangers to injuries this season, particularly to key players. Davante Adams, Kenny Clark, and David Bakhtiari — a trio of Pro Bowlers — have all missed time, as has star running back Aaron Jones. More starters have had to sit out games as well, including Kevin King, Darnell Savage, Christian Kirksey, and Allen Lazard.
But while the Packers have seen a few of those players return already and look primed to get several more of them back in time for Thursday’s NFC Championship Game rematch with the San Francisco 49ers, their opponents are feeling the injury crunch far worse. Indeed, the 49ers have lost practically a Pro Bowl roster’s worth of key players this season, and they will be without yet two more of their most critical players on Thursday.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, tight end George Kittle will be out for Thursday’s game and potentially the remainder of the 2020 season. Kittle reportedly has a broken bone in his foot which should cost him eight weeks or more. Joining him on the shelf is his quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, who left Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks with an ankle injury. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports on Monday that Garoppolo has a high ankle sprain and will be “sidelined indefinitely.”
Adding these two players to the injured list leaves the 49ers without most of the players who did the major damage against the Packers in last year’s NFC Championship Game. The following players will be out on Sunday, and this is hardly an exhaustive list:
|Garoppolo, Jimmy||QB||High ankle sprain|
|Mostert, Raheem||RB||High ankle sprain|
|Wilson, Jeff||RB||High ankle sprain|
|Kittle, George||TE||Broken foot|
|Reed, Jordan||TE||Sprained MCL|
|Hurd, Jalen||WR||Torn ACL|
|Bosa, Nick||DE||Torn ACL|
|Thomas, Solomon||DL||Torn ACL|
The offensive weapons on the shelf here were some of the key players in the 49ers’ two wins over the Packers last year. Mostert of course ran for over 200 yards and four touchdowns in the NFC Championship Game; Kittle caught only one pass in that contest but caught six balls for 129 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown in the teams’ regular season meeting. Garoppolo went 14-for-20 for 253 yards and two scores in the first meeting, then attempted only eight passes in the playoff contest. Samuel had two catches in each game, racking up 96 total receiving yards and a touchdown.
San Francisco’s defense will miss their key players as well. Bosa recorded one sack in each game while Sherman had an interception in the playoff contest (though he also gave up a 65-yard completion to Davante Adams).
This hardly means that Thursday’s game — which is currently in some doubt due to the positive COVID test in Green Bay — will be a cakewalk. San Francisco’s defense in particular still has several excellent players, including defensive tackle Arik Armstead and linebacker Fred Warner. However, the Packers will indeed draw a 49ers team that is missing nearly every player who was critical to the team’s success in San Francisco’s two wins in 2019.