The Niners listed Stokes as questionable on Wednesday's injury report, which means he has a 50-50 chance of playing Monday. A Magnetic Resonance Imaging exam confirmed that Stokes has a second-degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee, which usually requires a 1-4 week recovery period, though there have been several occasions when NFL players have played the next week after spraining their MCL.
Quarterback Jeff Garcia talked Wednesday as if he wasn't planning on having Stokes available. Coach Steve Mariucci said the Niners are preparing for both scenarios.
"J.J. is going to be a day-by-day thing," Mariucci said. "We rehab and rested him today. He'll jog around tomorrow. He's getting ready mentally. He's in great shape physically and that sort of thing. So, if he has minimal practice this week, that will be OK. He's still very capable of playing without much practice."
Stokes said he's intent on playing Monday and is anxious to see how his knee will react on Thursday after three days of rest. He was injured on a 51-yard reception in Sunday's victory over the St. Louis Rams.
"I just want to play," Stokes said. "But I have to see what my body's capable of doing. My body felt better on Monday. It feels good today, too. I don't know what the team has planned, but I'm going to give it a good test (Thursday) and see."
Stokes had the same condition in his left knee the week before a September game against St. Louis last year and he was able to play in that game, even though he felt worse then that he does now. He didn't practice during that week, however, and he said that affected his preparation for the game, which the Nines narrowly lost 30-26.
"I was hobbling all week but I played that Sunday," Stokes said. "This year feels pretty good compared to what it did last year at this time. I hope that's a good indicator. … But I didn't play very well last year (without practice). I wasn't prepared to play. If I can practice, I want to practice. Because that's what kind of hurt me last year, when I didn't practice the whole week and then I jumped into the Rams game and Jeff (Garcia) threw me two balls where I was supposed to be, and I wasn't there. It was my fault and it kind of threw us off."
Tai Streets will likely start Monday if Stokes is unavailable. But Mariucci said the team is considering different options if Stokes can't play.
"We're getting ready in case he can't," Mariucci said. "We have alternatives. We have different thoughts in mind that I won't get into. But we're still relatively optimistic that he may be ready to go on Monday night."