SANTA CLARA – Peering through the Bay Area's smoky skies to see if the 49ers' season opener will go on as scheduled Sunday? Keep looking.
"We'll just see what happens. Hopefully it'll be safe, but we've got to see what the wind does," coach Kyle Shanahan said.
The 49ers practiced Friday in their smoggiest conditions in years, and Shanahan claimed their system's reading was below the 200 air-quality index that is the NFL's threshold for canceling practices and rescheduling games.
The 49ers nor NFL have announced a contingency plan if the AQI is too dangerous to play Sunday and they are continuing to monitor smoke and air forecasts. No fans are allowed entry because of COVID-19 concerns.
"If it gets to 200, that's when the NFL really discusses what to happen with the game," Shanahan said. "That's not my decision at all, thank goodness."
"I'm sure discussions are going on right now to figure out the best and safest option," Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said, according to the team's website.
Running back Tevin Coleman did not participate in practice because of a preexisting health condition that puts him at-risk amid poor air quality. Shanahan said it will be up to Coleman, after consulting with medical officials, whether he would be willing to play Sunday if conditions don't improve.
The Santa Clara AQI on iPhone's weather app read 205 as the walk-through began, exactly 49 hours before the opening kickoff.
"It's everywhere and orange out there," linebacker Kwon Alexander said of the smoke. "It's weird but everything's weird in 2020."
The 49ers had a November 2018 game come into question because of smoke, and even though that went on as planned, several 49ers have familiarized themselves with air-quality measures.
"I never knew what an AQ index was, never really got into that before," Kyle Juszczyk said of his pre-49ers days before 2017. "It's been interesting how we've had to deal with it. You can't get too concerned about it because there's nothing we can literally do to lower that number. You've got to roll with and deal with it."
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel (foot): Out
Samuel has not practiced with the team since June surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his left foot. He came off the non-football-injury list Saturday to make him eligible for practice.
Why did the 49ers not consider putting him on injured reserve, where new rules allow players to return after three weeks?
"Because we believe he had a good chance to play this week. It didn't go the way we hoped, but it still will be day-to-day going on the next week" said Shanahan, noting that Samuel was ineligible for that IR list because his foot fracture occurred away from the team this offseason and it was not a new issue.
"To make a decision that would be three weeks (onto IR) when we thought he did have a chance, we didn't think that would be very smart. We'll see how next week goes."
Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring): Questionable
The rookie wide receiver, drafted No. 25 overall, practiced Thursday and Friday for the first time since straining his left hamstring Aug. 23. He was limited the past two days so he'd likely be a reserve option behind projected starters Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis.
Center Ben Garland (ankle): Questionable
Limited the past two practices, Garland is a game-time decision as to whether he can play through an ankle injury that happened four days into training camp. Daniel Brunskill likely would start at center if Garland can not, otherwise Brunskill figures to be at right guard.
Cornerback Jason Verrett (hamstring): Out
The oft-injured cornerback sustained a hamstring injury last week and did not practice this week.
WR KeeSean Johnson (COVID-19 reserve): The Palo Alto High product went on the NFL's list Friday for either testing positive or coming into contact with someone who has.
OT Josh Jones (ankle): OUT
The rookie lineman, a third-round draft pick, did not practice all week.
Richie James, River Cracraft and Johnathan Cyprien won scout-team awards for their roles in this week's practices, as signified by the special jerseys they wore Friday.
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