49ers sign kicker Chase McLaughlin after Robbie Gould injures quad

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- As they head toward an NFC West division showdown with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night, the San Francisco 49ers could be without kicker Robbie Gould.

Gould suffered a quad injury this week, leaving his chances for playing on Monday up in the air and forcing the Niners to sign free-agent kicker Chase McLaughlin on Thursday morning. The team released offensive tackle Sam Young to make room for McLaughlin on the roster.

Coming off a Thursday night game last week, the Niners held a "bonus" practice on Tuesday. Gould was at that practice and coach Kyle Shanahan said he suffered the injury then, though Gould has not been ruled out yet.

"I think he's got a chance to play Monday," Shanahan said. "If not, we expect him back the following week."

McLaughlin, a rookie from Illinois, comes to the 49ers from the Los Angeles Chargers, where he handled kicking duties for four games before his release. McLaughlin was 6-of-9 on field-goal attempts in that time and made all seven of his extra points.

"I know he's, according to (general manager) John (Lynch) and all the guys upstairs and according to (special-teams coordinator Richard) Hightower, the special-teams' guys, the best one available," Shanahan said. "I'm excited to have him here."

While Gould's injury isn't considered long-term, it is the latest in a line of special-teams changes the 49ers have endured. Before long snapper Kyle Nelson's return from suspension two weeks ago, San Francisco went through three long snappers and it is using rookie punter Mitch Wishnowsky as the holder, all of which has made for a lack of consistency in the kicking game over the first eight weeks.

This season, Gould is 13-of-20 on field goals, the most misses he's had in his 15-year career, and made all 26 of his extra-point attempts.

Releasing Young comes as no surprise given the expected returns of left tackle Joe Staley (fibula) and right tackle Mike McGlinchey (knee). Barring a setback, Staley is all but certain to be back against the Seahawks with McGlinchey also a real possibility.

The 49ers listed Staley and McGlinchey as limited in Thursday's practice. Tight end George Kittle (knee, ankle), meanwhile, did not participate. Shanahan said Kittle's status is up in the air until late in the week, though teammates indicated that they were preparing for the possibility they won't have their star tight end against the Seahawks and possibly for another week or so after that.

"It's something on the knee and ankle," Shanahan said. "He's got two things in both areas. We know Kittle's a very tough guy and that's why he was able to come back in that game, but it's something that we're not going to know until the end of the week."