The final unbeaten team in the NFL in 2019 should be getting reinforcements back.
The San Francisco 49ers expect to have left tackle Joe Staley and fullback Kyle Juszczyk back from injury this week against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football. It's possible right tackle Mike McGlinchey and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon also return.
The Niners have remained undefeated despite losing Staley in Week 2 to a broken leg and Juszczyk to a knee injury in Week 5. Both appear set to make their return for a pivotal NFC West bout.
"I feel amazing," Juszczyk said Tuesday, via Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area. "I feel 100 percent, ready to ride. If we had had a chance to practice and I actually had a chance to hit some people last week, there might have been an opportunity for me to play, but since it was a Thursday it made things tough."
Added Staley: "I feel good. If everything goes according to plan, I'll be out there this week. Today, I was out there for the full practice, which was the first time. Barring any type of setback, the plan is to play."
The 49ers' offense did not miss a beat with both offensive tackles out for an extended period. That fact speaks loudly to the job Kyle Shanahan and his coaching staff did in creating game plans to help their young offensive tackles, Justin Skule and Daniel Brunskill, and preparing them to play under fire. Lesser teams would have wilted under that pressure.
Getting Staley back as the competition heats up is a boon for the 49ers' offense, and the return of Shanahan's favorite chess piece in Juszczyk will add another dimension to a crew that has been churning out hella points the last several weeks.
The returns will be a welcome sight in San Francisco, especially with the defense losing linebacker Kwon Alexander for the season and tight end George Kittle missing practice while battling a knee injury.
Every team deals with significant injuries through the course of the season. The 49ers got through their first batch without a loss.
With the return of those key pieces on the horizon, the last undefeated team could be getting even better.
"The ceiling is however high you want to make it," defensive tackle DeForest Buckner said. "We've been playing really well with guys down and the guys have been stepping up really well. To have some of those guys back is going to be very exciting. We've been missing them for a couple weeks and the fact we're 8-0 without them just shows the depth on this team."