The promising defender is set to undergo groin surgery, according to The Athletic’s Matt Barrows (on Twitter). Although this procedure is not set to knock Greenlaw out for the season, he is expected to miss four to six weeks, Barrows tweets. That timetable could be on the optimistic side, with NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport noting Greenlaw could be down for eight weeks (Twitter link).
While this does not quite match the injury misfortune September 2020 brought the 49ers, the team left its opener with some significant health issues. Greenlaw and Fred Warner serve as San Francisco’s three-down linebackers. The former returned an interception for a touchdown in the 49ers’ 41-33 Week 1 win.
A 2019 fifth-round pick, Greenlaw has been a starter since his rookie season. He joined Warner in helping the 49ers transition post-Reuben Foster at linebacker, with Greenlaw also making high-priced addition Kwon Alexander expendable. Greenlaw finished last season with 86 tackles in 13 games during a season in which he missed some time due to a quadriceps injury. He was still one of San Francisco’s healthier starters during an injury-defined 2020 slate.
Azeez Al-Shaair is expected to take over Greenlaw’s every-down role alongside Warner, Barrows tweets, with Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles moving into the 49ers’ base sets as their third starting linebacker. Al-Shaair has started 10 games in three seasons, including San Francisco’s opener last week. A former UDFA like Al-Shaair, Flannigan-Fowles made one start in 2020.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.