At some point in the 49ers’ season, the discussion always seems to shift to injuries. While the NFL is brutal and that subject is inevitable, it’s long felt like San Francisco has struggled to stay healthy.
That’s not just a phantom belief.
San Francisco has consistently lost an inordinate number of players to injury. Football Outsiders’ adjusted games lost measurement accounts for lost games due to injury.
Since 2017, the 49ers’ best rank was in that first season, when they ranked 23rd (lower being worse). In the following seasons, they were 29th, 27th, 32nd and 29th.
The injury bug is very, very real with this team, and Sunday was a brutal reminder of that.
Kyle Shanahan confirmed Monday afternoon that Emmanuel Moseley suffered a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Moseley is a free agent after this season and Shanahan expressed a desire to retain him.
In his stead, Jason Verrett is the clear option to replace him. But Shanahan poured cold water on Verrett being an immediate-term replacement. He’s in his three-week return window, recovering from a second career torn ACL.
The 49ers will not rush him. That happened in 2019 against the Steelers and at the start of this season Shanahan vowed to not rush him back.
“If Verrett’s good to go, Verrett’s a big-time corner,” Shanahan said. “If Verrett can get these practice reps and get out there and get fully healed and get back into game shape and ready to go, he’ll end up being our guy.”
In the meantime, Samuel Womack III, Ambry Thomas and Dontae Johnson (practice squad) are expected to compete for the outside corner role.
Jimmie Ward, meanwhile, will undergo surgery for a fractured hand tomorrow. He broke his hand on the opening kickoff and stayed in for the first defense play of the game because he didn’t want to believe he’d actually broken his hand.
Shanahan recalled that same thing happened to him against the Buccaneers on the first play of the game in 2018.
Obviously the great, looming question is about Nick Bosa. Shanahan described his injury on Sunday as groin tightness, which hinted at it perhaps being a precautionary pull. But he said Bosa was still feeling it
“I know if we practiced today, he couldn’t go,” Shanahan said. “So I’m hoping that he does better throughout this week. But it wasn’t feeling great today.”
His status seems to be clearly in question for the weekend, which if he’s going to miss a game, this weekend’s matchup with Atlanta is one of the more preferable times to be absent.
The remaining injuries are all pretty minor. Robbie Gould’s knee contusion is the most minor, but there is some swelling and the team will work out kickers in case he can’t go against the Falcons.
Both Deommodore Lenoir (wrist) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (shoulder contusion) “should be fine.”