49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward will miss the remainder of the season after breaking his forearm on Sunday, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com).
Ward hasn’t been able to avoid injury over the past year-plus, as he also missed the second half of the 2017 campaign with a broken arm. A former first-round pick, Ward had played both safety and cornerback this season, displaying versatility when injuries elsewhere on the San Francisco roster forced him to move between positions. He’d started the past four games at corner in place of Adrian Colbert, who was placed on injured reserve in late October.
“I wanted to finish the season off,” Ward said, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. “Safety is easy for me. It’s natural. Corner, I just started playing corner when I got in the league so each play, each game, I just started getting better, just like I was getting better at safety. So, I’ll be all right. I’ll bounce back and I’ll ball.”
Ward is currently playing on his fifth-year option, on which he’s collecting $8.526MM before hitting free agency next spring. The 49ers could conceivably re-sign Ward before he reaches the open market, but given that he was at least mentioned in trade rumors in November, it’s possible San Francisco is ready to move on.
Ward, 27, will end the 2018 season having appeared in nine games while making seven starts. He played 62.9% of the 49ers’ defensive snaps and roughly a third of the club’s special teams snaps, managing 24 tackles in that time.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.