Kendrick Bourne of San Francisco 49ers tests negative for COVID-19 again

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne on Friday again tested negative for COVID-19, giving him two consecutive negative tests after receiving a positive result Wednesday.

Of the people tested in the NFL, 105 have tested positive and then negative the next day. Among those, Bourne is one of only four who have delivered a negative test a second day in a row after a positive.

Had the 49ers played the Green Bay Packers on Sunday or had the NFL moved the game from Thursday to later in the week following a positive COVID-19 test for Bourne, the Niners would have had the services of him, fellow receiver Brandon Aiyuk and tackle Trent Williams.

Bourne's initial positive test led to contact tracing, and Williams, Aiyuk and receiver Deebo Samuel were all ruled "high-risk close contacts," which meant they, like Bourne, also could not play against the Packers. All four were taken off the reserve/COVID-19 list later Friday.

Despite the positive test from Bourne and one on the Packers, there was never really any discussion about moving Thursday's game, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said.

All of which left the already banged-up 49ers even more short-handed in Thursday's 34-17 loss.

"I kind of dealt with the disappointment yesterday," Shanahan said. "Finding out that it was negative today, I was glad for Kendrick and those guys that they don't have to worry about being sick right now. But we dealt with that yesterday. I know it's frustrating, but it is what it is.

"That's what everyone in this world has got to deal with right now. They're doing it for safety. It wasn't necessary, but I get why it did happen, so we've got to deal with it and we obviously dealt with that last night. Hopefully it won't happen going forward."

Bourne, Samuel, Williams and Aiyuk are now all available to play on Nov. 15 against the New Orleans Saints. Samuel would not have played against the Packers anyway because of a hamstring injury, but Shanahan expects him to have a chance to return next week.

As for the NFL's investigation of potential COVID-19 protocol violations concerning Bourne and improper and/or infrequent mask usage, Shanahan said he wasn't expecting any further punishment from the league.

On another key player's potential return, Shanahan said it looks like quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will avoid surgery on his right ankle. Garoppolo is dealing with a second high ankle sprain and had been seeking opinions about whether to have an operation that would have ended his season.

"Good news from the doctors is that none of them are recommending surgery right now," Shanahan said. "So we're gonna not do anything for these four to six weeks, rest it, and then we'll reevaluate in these four to six weeks and hopefully it heals up the way the doctors are anticipating and he'll be good to go then and not need surgery."

In the meantime, the 49ers plan to sign veteran quarterback Josh Johnson to their practice squad to offer depth behind Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard. Shanahan said he wanted a veteran to be at the ready in case of more injuries or a COVID situation at the position.

And, for now, Mullens remains the starter after finishing 22-of-35 for 291 yards with a touchdown and an interception against the Packers.

"It's firmly Nick," Shanahan said. "I feel really good with Nick and C.J. They're always pretty neck and neck for me, but I'm not just going to bounce them back and forth. Something would have to happen to make a change."