The 49ers went into 2018 hoping Joshua Garnett would finally have a breakout season.
The former first-round selection out of Stanford in 2016 played inconsistently at guard as a rookie, then lost all of 2017 to injury. He spent his time off losing weight and getting fitter to better play in the 49ers’ blocking scheme, but was unable to win a starting job at right guard in training camp.
Mike Person has been the primary starter at the position and Erik Magnuson has filled in when needed.
Now, Garnett’s future with the team is in question after he broke a thumb in practice leading up to the game against the Giants last week, and it’s uncertain if he’ll be able to play in the 2-8 49ers’ remaining six games.
Garnett hasn’t played much on offense this year, but has played on special teams. Despite all the setbacks, he still believes he can be a part of this team going forward, he told Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group this week.
“I know a lot of people probably think, ‘Oh, they forgot about Josh.’ Hey, I still have a lot left in the tank,” Garnett said Monday to Inman. “I’m just hoping the coaches and people remember the stuff I was doing when I was playing in the preseason and what I do at practice.”
Garnett played guard in the season opener, but then dislocated a toe and missed six games. It’s been hard for him to establish any momentum with injuries that keep him sidelined.
Garnett is still signed through next season on his rookie contract, but there’s no guarantee the 49ers will keep him after this season. They could move on. But Garnett believes that, if healthy, he can win a spot and play well. He says it’s been frustrating to keep being derailed by injuries.
“It’s just part of the game and it’s stuff I’ve got to get through to get through day by day,” he said. “I’ve got to really take advantage of the training staff and the time we do get off to recover and get back right for next year.”
David Fucillo of SB Nation reports the 49ers will have a decision to make about Garnett. By May they have to decide whether to pick up his fifth-year option for 2020, he reported.
The 49ers travel to Tampa Bay this week to take on the 3-7 Bucs Sunday. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m.