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Joe Williams to miss remainder of the preseason with fractured rib



© Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Williams’ future with the 49ers just got more interesting.

The second-year 49ers running back suffered a fractured rib and “very bad bruise” in Saturday’s 16-13 loss to the Houston Texans, Kyle Shanahan told reporters Sunday evening. He said Williams will be sidelined until at least Week 1.

Shanahan said Williams thought he had injured his hip pointer sometime during the third quarter. He re-entered the game and finished out the ensuing drive before sitting out the final two offensive drives of the fourth quarter. Further tests conducted on Sunday revealed the fractured rib.

“It was his hip, so he thought it was a hip pointer at first,” Shanahan said. “He thought he could go through it, and we were rotating guys anyways. He was hurting, and we were about to make a change with our original plan. Just sleeping on it last night, he came in this morning and it was hurting worse than a hip pointer should. They looked into some things and found some other stuff.”

Williams had not helped his case to make the final cut through two preseason games, compiling 19 rushes for 45 yards altogether. He rushed eight times for just 18 yards Saturday night.

Throughout the preseason, Williams battled with Raheem Mostert and Jeremy McNichols for the No. 3 running back spot behind Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida. The 49ers signed six-year veteran Alfred Morris last Monday, but he did not play in Saturday’s defeat. With McKinnon and Breida sidelined until Week 1, Mostert, McNichols, Morris, and rookie Jeff Wilson will get plenty of chances to prove themselves.

As for Williams, his injury adds a wrinkle to his future with the 49ers. They could place him on the Physically Unable to Perform List prior to the season, deeming him sidelined until after Week 6. He could also be placed on injured reserve, effectively ending his 2018 season.

Williams did not play at all last season, his rookie campaign, with an injured ankle. He entered his sophomore season 10 pounds leaner and with a renewed sense of urgency. He said he had learned from past mistakes, namely a sense of entitlement after being selected in the fourth round of the 2017 draft.

Williams’ future with the club is now up in the balance, considering the different routes the 49ers brass could take with the recent news of his rib fracture.

Magnuson out for near future, Beathard to be re-evaluated

In other injury news, guard Erik Magnuson suffered a severe hamstring strain that will sideline him for an estimated six-to-eight weeks, according to Shanahan. Magnuson played left guard in Saturday’s loss before leaving the game, as Mike Person, Joshua Garnett, and Jonathan Cooper held down the right guard duties.

Backup quarterback C.J. Beathard suffered a foot sprain and will be re-evaluated Tuesday. He is not expected to be in a walking boot. Third-stringer Nick Mullens will presumably move into the backup role in Beathard’s absence.