Injuries have been something that the San Francisco 49ers have had to deal with a lot in the last few seasons. In 2020, their season was derailed when multiple starters suffered injuries earlier in the season that kept them sidelined for long periods of time. While the team stayed relatively healthy last season, they are already dealing with some in training camp this year.
The latest player to hit the injury report is safety Jimmie Ward. Ward pulled his hamstring during practice on Sunday and head coach Kyle Shanahan said that Ward would be out for some time because of the injury. Right now, his status for Week 1 in the season opener against the Chicago Bears is in serious doubt.
“There’s a chance,” Shanahan said. “It was a pretty bad hamstring injury. It’s not like the other two guys. We’ll see here over the next couple of weeks how it plays out.”
The other two guys that Shanahan could be referencing are free agent signing, cornerback Charvarius Ward and running back Elijah Mitchell. Both are dealing with soft-tissue injuries along with offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill.
While injuries like that occur rather regularly in training camp as players are getting back up to speed, Shanahan has identified a common denominator in the ones that have happened with the 49ers.
“It’s been bothersome to me,” Shanahan said. “They’ve all come after days off. This has been a real challenge this camp, more than any we’ve been in with just how it’s spaced out with these games and our day off rules. To really get into a groove for the guys, once you get about two days in, they’re getting a day off, sometimes two days off. So, I think our biggest challenge has been these off days and how to come back from them.”
The safety position is certainly thin right now as Dontae Johnson is also sidelined with a rib injury. San Francisco may have to sign a player or two at the position, especially if either of them is going to be missing the first game of the regular season.
Ward is the 49ers’ longest-tenured player, so not having him out there would certainly hurt from a leadership perspective. Unfortunately, not having him on the field is something that San Francisco has been used to.
While he has been healthier in recent seasons, missing only six games in the last three campaigns, Ward missed 29 games in the first five seasons in the NFL. The 49ers are used to having to figure out a game plan without him in the fold and very well may have to do it again this season.