49ers lose fan-favorite All-Pro defender to dreaded ACL tear

The Niners suffered their first significant injury of the 2023 season with Talanoa Hufanga poised to miss the rest of the year.
San Francisco 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga (29)
San Francisco 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga (29) / Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers are going to be without All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga for the rest of the season after he tore his ACL in the win over the Buccaneers on Sunday.

For the most part, the San Francisco 49ers have been awfully lucky on the injury front this season after years of being on the wrong side of it.

That changed, though, during the Niners' Week 11 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

During the third quarter, All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga went down awkwardly on a non-contact injury while trying to tackle Bucs running back Rachaad White in the open field. White's juke move made Hufanga look bad, yes, but the buckled right knee looked even worse.

While Hufanga was able to get off the field under his own power, he ended up spending a lengthy amount of time in the blue injury tent and was subsequently carted off the field.

San Francisco inserted rookie safety Ji'Ayir Brown into Hufanga's stead, and the first-year pro managed to secure a game-sealing interception late in the fourth quarter in relief.

MRI confirms 49ers' worst fears about Talanoa Hufanga

Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters after the game that he feared it was a torn ACL for the All-Pro, but further tests on Monday would confirm whether or not that was true.

Subsequently, Shanahan revealed that the injury was a torn ACL, as shared by ESPN's Adam Schefter, and Hufanga's 2023 campaign is officially over.

The 49ers will place Hufanga on season-ending injury reserve at some point soon. And while a corresponding roster move isn't known just yet, they will have a few choices on how to fill the void.

As far as Hufanga's starting job is concerned, it'll likely belong to Brown, the Niners' Round 3 pick from this year's NFL Draft.

Hufanga's 2023 campaign ended after 52 tackles, three interceptions and three pass breakups over 10 games played this season.

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