49ers Expecting Return of 1st-Round Pick in Week 13

Arik Armstead, San Francisco 49ers

Getty Arik Armstead celebrating for the San Francisco 49ers.

Ever since October 3, the San Francisco 49ers have had a noticeable hole in their defensive line.

Arik Armstead, an eight-year pro out of Oregon, suffered a hairline fracture in his ankle while playing against cross-state rival Los Angeles Rams, on top of his already diagnosed plantar fasciitis. While the 49ers have been able to soldier on without their lineman, maintaining first place in the division with a four-game win streak, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has no doubt been patiently waiting for Armstead to fully recover from the setback and refortify his line.

Without a shred of doubt, Armstead himself declared that he is healed up and will be back in action this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, and while this should come as a surprise to no one, as the Oregon product restarted workouts last Friday and worked two full practices, it is still nice to get that confirmation.

Arik Armstead Is Excited to Rejoin the 49ers

When asked about what it is like to be returning to the field so late in the season, Armstead noted the uniqueness of his situation, telling the assembled media, “I’ve never had this experience before, back late in the season, haven’t played much. So, (we’ll) see how it goes,” later adding that he feels “great.”

Considering general manager John Lynch’s emphasis on ensuring a complete recovery for the former Duck, those words are more than just empty statements; Armstead will no doubt bring his A game this Sunday and may even play without any formal restrictions placed on his playing time.

A return like this after multiple weeks away, could always lead to some rustiness on the gridiron, however, the 6-foot-7, 290-pound Armstead appears to have the right mindset and should act as a morale boost to a team that has seen its injury report be in constant flux all season long, especially considering Christian McCaffrey, dealing with his own lower body issues, is expected to be on the field this weekend as well.

Armstead Looks Forward to the Challenge Against the Dolphins

Armstead’s return comes with great timing, as Tua Tagovailoa and his fellow first-place Miami Dolphins are no joke on the offensive side of the ball. Of course, now knowing that he will be on the field opposite Tagovailoa, Armstead was asked how he and his defense would handle this threat.

“It’s definitely gonna be huge,” Armstead replied. “You know, Tua, he likes his, you know, immediate options, he gets the ball out quick, but our guys are gonna hold up in the back end, and we’re going to have to go up, keep rushing, and get him down, so it’s definitely gonna be a challenge for us, but I think we’ll be up for it.”

Of course, the two teams did joint practice together during training camp, which gives each side a unique experience and knowledge of the other. Armstead himself acknowledges both the familiarity and potential for surprises from his soon-to-be opponents, liking the contest to a “little bit of a chess match early on,” and for the second half, “it’s just going to be football.”

Will the 49ers be the better number-one team and secure the win? Only time will tell, but with Armstead back and excited to get on the field, this should be a fun one to watch.

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