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49ers to place Jordan Willis on IR, promote Kemoko Turay



© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

One injury situation not mentioned by Kyle Shanahan in his Wednesday presser was regarding defensive end Jordan Willis.

The 49ers announced that they have placed Willis on injured reserve with a knee injury which will require a “cleanup.” That’s usually shorthand for arthroscopic knee surgery, generally used to remove loose bodies and knee cartilage which cause pain.

In a corresponding move, the team promoted Kemoko Turay from the practice squad to the active roster.

Willis has had a history of chronic knee injuries, and will have to sit out at least four games before a potential return, and likely longer.

SF opted to keep Willis as their 10th defensive lineman as opposed to keeping an extra spot for Turay, the former Colts pass rusher who had 5.5 sacks a year ago.

The move to keep Willis made sense with an eye towards special teams and his NFC Divisional Round heroics against the Packers last season, when he blocked a punt recovered by Talanoa Hufanga for a touchdown.

That said, Turay looked impressive in training camp with a 1-2 combo of an outside speed rush and a counter spin move that made use of those speed rush expectations.

His return to the practice squad was fairly surprising given his production last season, but he posted his appreciation for the team on social media after being cut.

He expressed a sincere desire to stay with the organization, and his choice to join the practice squad allowed that. Now he’s got his chance on the active roster, and will add pass-rush prowess to an already stacked group.