Injuries Continue To Ravage the San Francisco 49ers


Every team deals with injuries. Players getting hurt is just part of the game. But for the San Francisco 49ers, it seems like the injury bug has made a nest in their locker room and built a family.

Every unit for the 49ers has suffered from injuries so far this season. From offense to defense, from line to secondary, no one is safe right now. But the defense has had it the worst.

Tramaine Brock and Patrick Willis are both dealing with toe injuries. Brock’s turf toe, a toe ligament sprain, was suffered during the season-opening matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, and he has not seen the field since. He did return to practice on Wednesday, but it seems likely he will not play until after the week nine bye.

Willis’ injury, which coach Jim Harbaugh said is not turf toe, was suffered in their week six Monday Night Football matchup with the St. Louis Rams. It will likely keep him out of this weekend’s matchup with the Denver Broncos. Coach Harbaugh would also say he does not expect Willis’ injury to be long-term, which is good news for the 49ers.

Jimmie Ward also suffered his injury on Monday Night against the Rams. His quadriceps injury is another one that doesn’t seem long-term but will likely force him to miss the Denver game.

The defensive line has been dealing with nagging injuries, but no one is expected to miss any games. Ray McDonald is dealing with a knee problem and Ian Williams has ankle issues, but both are listed as probable.

The offense hasn’t had an easy road so far this year. The offensive line and receiving corps have both dealt with injuries in the early part of the year.

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Anthony Davis, the 49ers’ big sturdy right tackle, hadn’t missed a single game in his first four years in the league, starting all 64 games since his first-round draft selection in 2010. But he has been dealing with knee and ankle injuries that have allowed him to only play about a half of football so far this year.

Davis’ status for Sunday against Denver is currently questionable. His presence in the starting lineup has been sorely missed, as Jonathan Martin has been an obvious downgrade at right tackle.

Davis’ line-mate, left guard Mike Iupati, is dealing with his own physical issues as well. The Pro-Bowler suffered a concussion in the win against the Rams. Coach Harbaugh said Iupati “looked really good after the game,” but he will have to pass the NFL’s mandated concussion testing. If Iupati is unable to go, Joe Looney will be the likely replacement.

Vernon Davis has also dealt with a series of injuries. He missed the week three matchup with the Arizona Cardinals due to an ankle injury but returned in week four to face the Philadelphia Eagles. However, he suffered a back injury against the Eagles and missed week five against the Kansas City Chiefs as well.

While Vernon returned against the Rams, he didn’t look like his old self. He looked limited by his back injury and seemed sluggish and out of sync. He dropped passes and was out of position on multiple plays, including a possible touchdown to Vance McDonald that Davis knocked away from his teammate.

It’s possible that Vernon came back too early from his injury. He will need to play a much better game against Denver to help his team.

Steve Johnson also suffered an injury on Monday but not as significant as some others. He took a knee in the hip late in the game when he recovered an attempted onside kick. Johnson, himself, was optimistic he would not miss any games.

The injury bug didn’t start biting in the regular season. The injuries started in last season’s NFC Championship game against the Seattle Seahawks, when NaVorro Bowman suffered his gruesome knee injury, tearing both his ACL and MCL. He has not played this year, and his status going forward is still uncertain.

Jan 19, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53) is carted off the field during the second half of the 2013 NFC Championship football game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Kendall Hunter also suffered a knee injury in training camp this year. Before he even played against another team, his season was over, another casualty of the bug.

The mix-and-match 49ers defense is up for a huge test against the high-powered Broncos offense. Against Peyton Manning, the 49ers could be without two of their top three corners and three of their four starting linebackers (including the Aldon Smith suspension).

Chris Borland will most likely make his first career start. The 2014 third-round draft pick played significant minutes against the Rams and played pretty well.

The secondary will likely be a hodgepodge of Perrish Cox, Chris Culliver, Chris Cook, Eric Reid, Antoine Bethea and Dontae Johnson.

The sign of a good football team is overcoming adversity. The injuries have been a big roadblock so far for San Francisco. The ‘’next man up” mentality has to take hold for the 49ers. It has worked so far, but everyone needs to step it up to another level against a team like Denver.