49ers defensive end Arik Armstead will undergo surgery after suffering a broken hand in Sunday’s game, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters, including Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Armstead is a candidate for injured reserve, per Shanahan.
Armstead, a first-round pick in 2015, has been excellent on the edge in first-year coordinator Robert Saleh‘s 4-3 scheme. Through five weeks, Armstead had played the second-most defensive snaps of any 49ers defender and posted eight tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5.5 pressures, and one pass defensed. Overall, the 23-year-old has graded as the NFL’s No. 33 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus.
Elvis Dumervil and Aaron Lynch are now candidates to see increased usage along a defensive line that also includes DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas, and Earl Mitchell. While the 49ers could theoretically add an external option for depth while Armstead is sidelined, they should be getting two defensive ends back in the near future, as Ronald Blair and Tank Carradine are both eligible to return to the field soon.
If Armstead is placed on injured reserve, he’ll face a minimum eight-week absence, meaning he won’t be able to come back until Week 15.
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