San Francisco 49ers' Trent Williams sits out practice; Richard Sherman, Dee Ford to stay on IR

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The status of San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams is up in the air this week as he deals with a sprained ankle. What's a bit clearer is when cornerback Richard Sherman and defensive end Dee Ford could return from injured reserve.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Williams would sit out Wednesday's practice after further imaging on his ankle showed no additional damage and confirmed that it was not a high ankle sprain. That means Williams will be day-to-day this week and could still play Sunday against the New England Patriots.

The outlook for Sherman and Ford isn't quite as optimistic, as Shanahan said both could potentially return after the team's Week 11 bye. Sherman and Ford have remained on injured reserve with calf and back injuries, respectively.

In Williams' case, the news might actually be considered good after a recent run of high ankle sprains that have or will cost quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, linebacker Kwon Alexander and running back Raheem Mostert games.

"Nothing was broken and it wasn't a high ankle, so that was good news," Shanahan said. "But [he's] still in too much pain to practice today, and I know he'll be questionable throughout the week. Hopefully it will get better each day but it's not there yet."

Williams suffered the ankle injury late in Sunday night's win against the Los Angeles Rams. Second-year tackle Justin Skule stepped in for two snaps while Williams was evaluated for a head injury against the Rams and would be the primary option to replace Williams if he is unable to play.

Skule started eight games at tackle in 2019.

"Skule has gotten a lot better," Shanahan said. "He did a good job last year for us getting thrown in there early and having to start those number of games at tackle. ... You can tell that however he spent his quarantine time that he did it the right way, because he came to training camp bigger, stronger and took a step forward throughout the practices. If he does get the opportunity to play here a little bit more going forward, I expect to see that on the field too."

Sherman, meanwhile, has been on injured reserve since after the Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He was initially expected to be back after the required three games but had a setback and, instead of returning against the Rams, had to get additional treatment last week.

According to Shanahan, Sherman is now wearing a walking boot and expected to miss more extended time.

"I thought I would have more answers this week, but I still think it's going to be a few weeks on that," Shanahan said. "It's obviously going a little longer than we expected. We've got to play it smart with him, but I don't see it being week to week right now. I see it probably [being] until around our bye week."

Ford went on injured reserve on Oct. 3 with a back injury, though he also has only played in one game this season, the opener against the Cardinals. The initial hope was that some rest would help Ford heal and he could return, but he was placed on injured reserve a few weeks later.

Shanahan expressed some optimism that Ford would be able to return after the bye, like Sherman, but sounded less sure of that given the nature of back injuries.

"I'm not sure on that," Shanahan said. "I would still throw it similar to that category, after our bye week. He's gotten the work he's needed, he's gotten the shots he's needed, he's rested it and now he's just starting to get back into some things, but still a ways away on that."

In addition to Williams, Alexander, Mostert and safety Jaquiski Tartt (groin) did not practice on Wednesday.

Also, the Niners acquired outside linebacker Jordan Willis from the New York Jets for a seventh-round pick in 2021 and a sixth-rounder in 2022, a source told ESPN's Rich Cimini. NFL Network first reported the trade agreement.