Season-Ending Surgery On Table For 49ers DT Javon Kinlaw

While injuries have not plagued the 49ers quite like they did last season, the team has still battled maladies on key fronts this year. One of the 49ers’ young starters is undergoing a key evaluation that stands to determine his availability for the season’s remainder.

Javon Kinlaw is visiting a specialist in Los Angeles, and Kyle Shanahan said (via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch, on Twitter) a season-ending knee surgery is on the table. The 2020 first-round pick missed the 49ers’ Week 6 game with the knee problem and has battled intermittent knee trouble for years.

Drafted to fill the spot vacated by last year’s DeForest Buckner trade, Kinlaw is a work in progress. The South Carolina product missing the rest of this season would certainly set his development back and strip the 49ers of a key D-line performer. Despite their four-game losing streak, the 49ers have had top front-four principals Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and Arik Armstead available throughout the season. Bosa and Ford combined to play in just three games last year, placing a low ceiling on San Francisco’s pass rush.

Kinlaw initially suffered this knee injury in December 2020 but entered the NFL with a history of knee issues from college. Knee pain caused Kinlaw to leave the 2020 Senior Bowl workouts early and skip position drills at last year’s Combine. The 49ers signed off on him and used him as a 12-game starter as a rookie. But Kinlaw missed the 49ers’ final two games last season and was absent in Week 1 of this season because of knee issues.

The interior D-lineman has not been productive this year, having eclipsed one tackle in just one of the four games he’s played. But the 49ers obviously made a big investment in Kinlaw and cannot afford many more bad breaks during a season that is heading south.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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