The offseason has seen the San Francisco 49ers dealing with a significant amount of injuries to players, thankfully nothing too severe. Heading into the break before training camp, Niner Noise provides an injury update and when players will be expected to return.
Injuries are something that have plagued the San Francisco 49ers in recent years, with mass injuries in the two previous seasons.
With the Niners bringing on a new strength and conditioning crew for the 2019 season, it is hoped the amount of injuries sustained can be stemmed somewhat.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan touched on how the team has been dealing with injuries during his final minicamp presser:
Listen in as Kyle Shanahan reviews 49ers minicamp.
Posted by San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday, June 12, 2019
“You do have injuries in OTAs. I think we were pretty fortunate with OTA injuries,” Shanahan said. “The problem was starting this. I want to stay we started with 14 guys not going. So, if that was right, that number, I mean you are playing with 76 instead of 90. That was different. You know, when you go in with 76, it’s alright, but then if one guy gets a little tight and stuff, you want to take care of him, which is good for that guy. But, then that next guy has to take a lot more reps and it becomes a trickle-down effect.”
Heading into the offseason, the 49ers had several key players who were expected to make a return this year after succumbing to injury in 2018. Atop that list is none other than quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who will be returning from an ACL tear sustained in Week 3’s loss against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Garoppolo was limited in OTAs and minicamp participating in seven-on-seven drills, but by all accounts, performed reasonably well given the amount of time he has been sidelined. Garoppolo should be fairly active during training camp which is set to begin in six week’s time.
Similarly, running back Jerick McKinnon and the Niners’ marquee defensive signing, linebacker Kwon Alexander are also returning from ACL injuries. While McKinnon was limited during OTAs and minicamp, participating in some running drills, Alexander did not take part.
Both players are projected to be active during training camp following a medical upon their return from time off.
Running back and special teamer Raheem Mostert is also anticipated to make a return in time for training camp following his continued recovery from a badly fractured arm sustained in Week 9’s win over the Oakland Raiders. Mostert, who was starting to gain traction during the 2018 season up until his injury, will unfortunately see less snaps this upcoming season due to the already loaded running back corps.
Continuing on with running backs, Matt Breida has had to endure a slight pectoral tear which saw him miss out entirely on OTAs and minicamp. If all goes to plan with his recovery, Breida will make his return in time for training camp. Competition will likely be tight among Breida, McKinnon and free-agent signing Tevin Coleman. with Shanahan expressing the probability that he will be utilizing all his backs in some sort of rotational role.
Tight end Garrett Celek missed OTAs and minicamp with a back injury, which he has since had surgery on and will be out for two months, missing the start of training camp. Adding to that, Celek also remains under the league’s concussion protocol from Week 16 last season.
With Celek also soon to be off contract with the 49ers, he will be in an uphill battle to secure a backup role behind George Kittle in this year’s 53-man roster. He will be up against newly drafted rookie Kaden Smith, veteran Levine Toilolo, UDFA Tyree Mayfield and Ross Dwelley.
Center Weston Richburg underwent offseason knee and quad surgery after playing with ongoing knee problems for much of the 2018 season. He is expected to make a return for training camp. While defensive back D.J. Reed who also underwent offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder should also be in attendance for training camp.
Injury prone defensive back Jimmie Ward fractured his collar bone during OTAs, however barring any setbacks should be fully recovered to participate at training camp. Fellow defensive back Tarvarius Moore was moved to his more natural position at safety filling in for the injured Ward and has impressed at the position.
With the 49ers continually affirming their love for Ward, however, it’s unlikely he will lose out on a roster spot.
Cornerback Jason Verrett is coming off a torn Achilles and will be in direct competition with corner Ahkello Witherspoon to line up opposite veteran corner Richard Sherman, who also returned from an Achilles injury last year. If Verrett is able to stay healthy, he has the potential to be elite at the position. However, if one thing is going to effect Verrett, it will likely be his speed. Which was noticeable in Sherman last season.
Tackle Mike McGlinchey also missed minicamp, undergoing a platelet-rich plasma injection on his knee, giving him ample time to recover prior to the commencement of training camp.
Moving onto the rookie’s, EDGE Nick Bosa saw limited practice due to tweaking his hamstring in OTAs. With the 49ers’ first round pick expected to play a large role in the Niners’ defense, coaching staff considered it best to pull Bosa from practice until training camp.
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel was also rested towards the end of OTAs due to a minor hip injury and missed minicamp. While not severe, Samuel will recover until training camp. While rookie receiver Jalen Hurd has missed much of the offseason, continuing his recovery from knee surgery.
With the 2019 NFL season just over the horizon, lets hope all these offseason injuries get cleared up before kickoff and it’s smooth sailing for the year ahead.