Jerick McKinnon‘s 49ers tenure may very well end without him ever taking a snap for San Francisco. The team placed the running back on injured reserve last week, ending his 2019 season before it could start. McKinnon tore an ACL just before the start of last season, and has had complications while recovering. McKinnon had another knee surgery earlier this week, but it turns out it was unrelated to his ACL, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports. His ACL is apparently fine, which McKinnon said was “reassuring.”
Instead it was a separate issue in the same knee, although it’s not clear exactly what that issue is. He’ll miss his second straight season, but McKinnon still really wants to play for the 49ers. “I love this team,” he said. “That’s why I came here. I love the coaching staff, the whole organization, the Yorks, John (Lynch), Kyle (Shanahan), all the coaches. Coach (Bobby) Turner and everyone has been supportive — behind me, 100 percent, and there’s nothing more you can ask for.” McKinnon wants to be back, but it seems likely the team will want to move on. McKinnon, who signed a four-year $30MM deal last offseason, is scheduled to make $6.5MM in 2020. The 49ers still have a solid backfield with Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman and others, so he’d likely have to take a significant pay-cut at the very least to be brought back.
Here’s more from San Francisco:
- Their defense is going to be banged up in Week 1. Defensive end Dee Ford has been dealing with a nagging injury but is going to play, while fellow pass-rusher Nick Bosa and cornerback Jason Verrett are both questionable. Now they’ll be without starting safety Jimmie Ward, who had surgery after breaking a finger in Wednesday’s practice, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic. Ward has been ruled out for the team’s opener against Tampa Bay, although Barrows notes that he might be able to play with a cast on in Week 2. Second-year player Tarvarius Moore will start in his place.
- Speaking of Verrett, the oft-injured corner received a nice chunk of change for making the team’s initial 53-man roster. Verrett got a $500K bonus for being on the active roster Week 1, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Verrett, a first-round pick of the Chargers’ back in 2014, signed a one-year deal with San Francisco earlier this offseason. Verrett has always been extremely talented and made the Pro Bowl back in 2015, but he’s appeared in just five games over the past three seasons. Verrett has already dealt with a torn ACL and Achilles in his young career, and he missed the entire preseason with an ankle injury.
- Ward isn’t the only player they’ll be without in Week 1. Rookie receiver Jalen Hurd isn’t going to play against the Bucs and he could miss multiple games, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. The 49ers drafted Hurt 67th overall back in April, and he has the potential to turn into an intriguing weapon. Hurd rushed for nearly 3,000 yards in his college career as a running back and then transitioned to receiver, racking up 946 yards through the air in his senior season at Baylor. It should be interesting too see how Kyle Shanahan uses him, but unfortunately it looks like we might have to wait a few weeks for his debut as he deals with a back injury.