This is disconcerting.
The 49ers have placed star middle linebacker Fred Warner on the Reserve/Covid-19 list. This doesn’t necessarily mean Warner has tested positive for the coronavirus. But he either has tested positive, or been in close contact with someone else who has the virus. And so he’s now in quarantine.
"It's just a good reminder that no one is out of the woods," head coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday. "When you go a few weeks with nothing happening, people start to feel pretty safe. It's a reminder that this stuff is out there. We'll see how it goes. I'm not going to get into it, because I can't. You guys know the rules with it. There are a couple options with the test that comes back. We'll see how that goes each day."
If Warner tested positive, he can return to the 49ers once 10 days have passed since his initial symptoms appeared and 72 hours after his symptoms have gone away completely.
Warner warmed up with the 49ers during Friday’s practice at Levi’s Stadium, but did not participate in 11-on-11 team drills. At the time, it seemed he might have suffered a minor injury. But he didn’t leave the field. He stood on the sideline in close proximity with teammates and watched all of practice.
Then the 49ers took Saturday off. On Sunday, they held their final training-camp practice of the year, and Warner wasn’t there. Wasn’t suited up. Wasn’t on the side of the field. He was M.I.A.
Now we know why.
The 49ers drafted Warner in Round 3 of the 2018 draft. He has never missed a game, and has started every time he has suited up for the 49ers. During this year’s camp, he arguably was the 49ers’ best defensive player. He looks bigger and more fierce than he did last season.
"Fred gets better each year," Shanahan said. "He came in and played at a high level as a rookie. We put a lot of pressure on him as a rookie, and that pressure paid off because it gave him a ton of experience. He rose to the challenge then and has taken it to a whole other level each year. Fred is as much of a pro as I've been around. While he's not in here, I'm sure he's in his apartment doing bad drills just going crazy that he can't be in here. Fred is a stud. Whenever he can come back, he will be ready to go."
Now Warner is out indefinitely, and the season starts Sunday, Sept. 13. Will he be able to play in that game? When will the 49ers get him back?
At this point, even they probably don’t know.
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