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49ers Injury Updates: Another receiver likely to miss start of season



© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers will have some decisions to make at wide receiver. As final cuts for the 53-man roster on August 29 loom ever closer, two of the team’s projected top-five starters at wideout are likely to miss the start of the season.

Ray-Ray McCloud suffered a fractured hand that is not believed to require a stint on injured reserve, but which is expected to keep him out of action for at least the season opener. His duties as a return specialist have opened up a competition between D’Shawn Jamison and Ronnie Bell, both of whom have great chances of making the roster.

On Saturday, Danny Gray suffered what was initially feared to be a broken collarbone. Kyle Shanahan told reporters Sunday that while he avoided that injury, Gray suffered a right SC joint — where the collarbone meets the shoulder — sprain, which will require a significant layoff.

“It is still a pretty bad injury,” Shanahan said. “It’s no break, which is good, but it’s similar to what George Odum is dealing with. So it’s still not great news, but it’s better than a break.”

The timeline is uncertain, but will likely keep Gray out at the start of the year.

This is setting up for a situation where the 49ers will almost certainly keep six receivers, but may need to add another. One of Gray or McCloud could end up on injured reserve, but would have to be kept on the initial, 53-man roster to be eligible to return after three weeks.

It could be a situation where Bell makes the roster as the sixth receiver, and the 49ers try and keep Chris Conley and Willie Snead IV as veterans on the practice squad, before adding one of them to the roster after an IR designation happens.

There were two other injuries from the game besides Gray. Kerry Hyder Jr. had a stinger, which will need managing, and Jeremy McNichols suffered a multi-week hamstring injury.

On the more encouraging side, Shanahan said five players are hopeful to return to practice this week:

  • Kalia Davis
  • Dre Greenlaw
  • Drake Jackson
  • Elijah Mitchell
  • George Kittle

That’s a group of at least two, possibly three potential starters returning to the field this week.

Jackson will have to prove something to regain ground in the starting defensive end competition against Clelin Ferrell… assuming Nick Bosa is extended, and on the field for the start of the season.