Something rare for the 49ers: Injury optimism heading into playoff opener vs. Cowboys

The 49ers’ starting left tackle missed his fourth straight practice, the quarterback still can’t go through a full session, the punter is in the concussion protocol and three of the team’s top four linebackers were limited in Wednesday’s practice.

And yet there’s a feeling of optimism among the 49ers that they cleared a massive injury in Los Angeles on Sunday and that the next one won’t be quite as daunting. In fact, as the team prepares for its wild-card playoff game against the Cowboys on Sunday, the roster seems to be largely on the mend.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, for instance, played all 70 snaps — including a plow-ahead, 1-yard quarterback sneak into the third quarter — against the Rams. He said his sprained right thumb was “a little sore” the day after the game and he was limited in Wednesday’s practice just like he was a week ago. But this time there’s little doubt he’ll start Sunday against the Cowboys.

“Yeah, the thumb held up pretty well,” he said. “It is what it is. It was a little sore after the game, but it’s feeling great right now.”

His blindside protector, tackle Trent Williams, didn’t practice due to the elbow injury he suffered in Week 17. But the big left tackle was seen inside the team’s weight room and Kyle Shanahan said Williams was farther along than he was on Sunday when he was a last-minute scratch from the game.


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