The 49ers have been dealing with a number of minor injuries in training camp lately, but one which is significant not only in its serenity but also its impact on the team is the one currently ailing free safety Jimmie Ward. He has suffered a hamstring injury, and his Week 1 availability is now in question, per ESPN’s Nick Wagoner (Twitter link).
Ward has been a starter on the backend in San Francisco since his second season in 2015. He has been a consistent contributor throughout that time, including on the NFC-winning squad of 2019. His level of play that year earned him a three-year extension, giving him financial security for the first time in his career.
Ward is in line to start once again in 2022, the final season of that deal. He and 2021 fifth-rounder Talanoa Hufanga are the top safety options on the depth chart, so any extended absence from Ward would be a major blow to a 49ers team looking to repeat last season’s playoff run, and whose weakness on defense is generally viewed as being in the secondary. Tarvarius Moore and George Odum would be amongst the team’s options to fill in for Ward should he miss any time.
Here are some other injury notes from around the league, starting with another NFC West contender:
- The Rams are facing some uncertainty in their offensive backfield. Head coach Sean McVay announced that running backs Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson are both dealing with “soft-tissue” injuries (Twitter link via ESPN’s Sarah Barshop). The pair are in line to occupy the top two spots on the depth chart, though injuries are nothing new to either player. McVay added that neither of them will return to practice until they have fully recovered, but didn’t provide a timeline regarding when that may take place.
- The center position has become a sore spot for the Browns recently, given the season-ending injury to Nick Harris, who was the favorite to take over the starting role. The team’s depth at the pivot is being tested even further, as seventh-round rookie Dawson Deaton suffered a torn ACL, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). With him sidelined for the season as well, Cleveland is down to free agent signing Ethan Pocic and UDFA Brock Hoffman as their only remaining healthy options. Pocic has starting experience, but another addition would come as little surprise at this point.
- Another team dealing with center injuries is the Bears. Sixth-round rookie Doug Kramer is believed to have suffered a Lisfranc injury, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). In that case, his 2022 availability will be seriously in doubt, something which would be especially problematic if starter Lucas Patrick isn’t recovered from the hand surgery he had recently in time for the start of the regular season.