(UPDATE: Jim Harbaugh announced on Monday the Niners have lost nose tackle Ian Williams for the season. Williams is set to undergo surgery on his broken left ankle later on Monday.)
Not only did the San Francisco 49ers lose the Sunday night showdown to the Seattle Seahawks, the also lost significant starters during the game because of injuries. All totaled, four starters left the game and did not return for the Niners.
The list of players injured for San Francisco includes nose tackle Ian Williams (left ankle), free safety Eric Reid (concussion), defensive tackle Ray McDonald (ankle) and tight end Vernon Davis (hamstring). The most serious of the injuries were to Williams and Reid.
In the first quarter, Williams broke his left ankle as he was engaged with a Seattle blocker and was cut-block on his left side by guard J.R. Sweezy. The block was and looked legal, but clearly a rule should be changed to protect linemen on both sides from receiving low blocks that could be season and career ending injuries.
Williams was making his first career start and was replaced by veteran Glenn Dorsey. In the next series after Williams went down with an injury, Dorsey recorded his first sack of the season and he had five tackles in the game. After suffering what is being reported as a broken left ankle, Williams will likely miss a significant amount. It could lead to season ending surgery.
In addition to Dorsey, the Niners have defensive linemen Justin Smith, Tony Jerod-Eddie and Demarcus Dobbs on the roster. Dorsey is now being presented with a big opportunity to become a starter again. If he can play effectively while Williams is out, he could be the new starter at nose tackle. But that is a big if because the five-year veteran lost out to Williams for the starting job during the preseason.
Reid left the game with a concussion in the third quarter after he laid a big hit on Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice. After the game, Jim Harbaugh said Reid did not remember the hit after he regained consciousness while still on the field. He became the first rookie for the Niners to make an interception in his first two games since the 1970 NFL merger.
Depending on the severity of the concussion, Reid could miss a few weeks. Until he undergoes more tests, he is out indefinitely. Here’s to Reid making a speedy recovery.
It is unknown how serious Davis’ hamstring and McDonald’s ankle injuries are and if they will miss anytime. All four players injured will be reevaluated on Monday, with an update of their status likely to come Tuesday or Wednesday.