San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Mario Manningham was absent from practice on Wednesday because of a shoulder injury. If you recall, he left the Sunday’s loss to the St. Louis Rams in the fourth quarter which depleted an already thin receiver’s corps.
With Kyle Williams having season-ending ACL surgery on Wednesday and the potential loss of Manningham against the Dolphins this week, the 49ers could have only a total of four wide receivers available. Those receivers are Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, Ted Ginn Jr. and A.J. Jenkins. We all know Crabtree and Moss can be counted on to give Colin Kaepernick good receiving options. But Ginn only has two catches this season and Jenkins was activated for the first time in his career last week, but did not play a single snap.
Ginn should not be looked at as a third or fourth receiving option. The 49ers cannot risk him getting injured because of his importance in the return game. He missed the first three games of the season with an ankle injury and recently hurt his wrist against Saints. His injury was bad enough that it was uncertain if he would play against the Rams last Sunday. With Williams and Kendall Hunter out for the season, who were the backup returners, the 49ers have very limited options in the return game if he gets hurt gain. They must not expose him to injury on offense.
Jenkins is fully healthy, but the first-round draft pick has not seen action on the field this season. Regardless of whether or not Manningham will play on Sunday, Jenkins will get onto the field at wide receiver. How effective he will be is a whole another story.