SANTA CLARA — Another day, another setback for a 49ers skill player.
First there was the update via John Lynch that running back Jerick McKinnon’s return to practice on Tuesday was ‘not encouraging,’ and that McKinnon reportedly could be placed on the injured reserve, meaning he would miss two full seasons after signing a 4-year, $30 million last offseason.
Now there is Thursday’s update from 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, which wasn’t quite as dire as the McKinnon news, that rookie wide receiver Jalen Hurd’s back injury is more serious than originally thought, and the receiver will likely miss San Francisco’s Week 1 game in Tampa Bay.
“Yeah it’s a little more serious than we thought, still don’t know for sure,” Shanahan said when asked about Hurd’s availability. “We thought we would have a better chance at Tampa, and now that’s not looking as good.
“I don’t think we’ll have to consider a (IR) list, but we’re not as confident that he’ll be available now. We aren’t for sure, but I was a lot more optimistic about that two days ago…It wasn’t the type of two days that we were hoping for for him just getting feedback from him and stuff like that. We’re looking into a number of things here in the next two days and we’ll have to make a decision on that Saturday.”
Just that fact that Shanahan didn’t completely discount Hurd having to be placed on an IR list points to him possibly missing multiple weeks. Hurd being unavailable likely means the 49ers will begin the season with seven receivers on the active roster in Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd, Trent Taylor and Jordan Matthews, with Richie James Jr. and Kendrick Bourne likely fighting for the final spot.
The 49ers selected Hurd with a 3rd-round pick in this year’s draft. The 6-foot-4 wide out played running back for a spell in college and is considered a triple threat that can also line up at tight end.