Prior to the start of training camp, running back looked like a position of great depth for the 49ers, now one week into camp, and suddenly San Francisco is finding themselves thin in the backfield.
Kendall Hunter is out for the year after tearing his ACL last Friday, and LaMichael James is out the rest of camp and the preseason after dislocating his elbow. Meanwhile, Marcus Lattimore currently sits on the PUP list (physically unable to perform list), still on the road from recovery from a knee injury suffered back in 2012.
Rookie Carlos Hyde, who was rated as the No. 1 running back in the 2014 Draft, currently appears to be ranked as the No. 2 back behind Frank Gore, who enters the his 10th season in the league just 33 yards shy of 10,000 yards rushing.
The 49ers added former Arizona Cardinals running back Alfonso Smith on Tuesday, and he should see action during the preseason, but in the overall scheme of things, Smith might have a hard time sticking to the 49ers 53-man roster.
If Lattimore is cleared and can stay healthy and LaMichael returns prior to Week 1, the 49ers should be ok at running back to start the 2014 season.
Losing Hunter hurts, no question. He was the change of pace RB to the workhorse that Frank Gore is, and Hunter could quickly turn the corner on a pitch.
James has that kind of speed and two years ago, was big in the NFC Title game against the Atlanta Falcons, scoring the 49ers first TD of the game.
Hunter’s injury two years ago allowed for James to see the field in the first place and his impact was big down the Super Bowl stretch run.
For now, the 49ers are a little thin at running back, but with a little rest and over a month to go before the season starts, San Francisco should be good to go come Week 1.
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