The 49ers thrilling walk-off victory over the New Orleans Saints Sunday came at a price. All season long the 49ers have battled constant injuries, and it got even worse Sunday.
Defensively, the 49ers started both Richard Sherman and Dee Ford Sunday. Both players were battling injuries but were healthy enough to play. In Sunday’s win over the Saints, both players re-injured themselves. They will both miss multiple weeks moving forward.
Ford injured his hamstring in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals and missed both Week 12 and Week 13. The 49ers are hoping to have him back for the start of the playoffs, and a first-round bye would certainly help.
Sherman played Sunday, despite nursing a knee injury the week leading up to the game. The hamstring strain he sustained Sunday will likely keep him out for the upcoming matchup with the Falcons and for Week 16 against the Rams. The 49ers hope to have Sherman back after a couple of weeks, and he will certainly be itching to play against his former team the Seattle Seahawks in Week 17.
The biggest injury the 49ers sustained Sunday was to center Weston Richburg. Richburg suffered a torn patella tendon and will be out for the remainder of the season.
One of the most important positions in this 49ers offense is the center position. Richburg was playing at a very high level after an inconsistent 2018 season. The 49ers will turn to backup center Ben Garland, who filled in very nicely for Richburg on Sunday.
On Monday, Kyle Shanahan had this to say about how well Richburg had been playing this season:
“I thought Richburg played very well. He played like the guy that we hoped for when he got here. I think he did that last year in some games, but not consistently throughout the year. His injury had a lot to do with that, so I know it was a hard offseason for him. He didn’t get cleared until the Tampa Bay game, so I know there was a lot of anxiety with him going through that and whether to do it or not and I think it really paid off because it helped him a ton this year. He was able to stay healthy throughout the year until this point. It happened on a different leg, so it was very unfortunate what happened. He got bent back and there was no way he could avoid it. He got caught in a real bad position, but we were extremely appreciative of him this year.”
Another crushing blow for the 49ers is the loss of nose tackle D.J. Jones, who suffered an ankle sprain and could be out for the season. Jones is very important for stopping opposing teams’ running games; losing him would put the 49ers stellar defensive line in a tough spot.
The final injury the 49ers sustained Sunday was to cornerback K’Waun Williams, who is in concussion protocol and will be day-to-day.
Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin has been a non-factor for weeks now. The veteran wide receiver had been nursing foot and knee injuries, which put an end to his season.
With the injuries the 49ers have sustained, they brought in some reinforcements, who happen to be familiar faces.
Dontae Johnson played the first four years of his career with the 49ers, before coming back once more this season. Jordan Matthews is a veteran wide receiver and has made a fan out of Kyle Shanahan, who has brought him to the 49ers for the third time this season.
Fortunately for the 49ers, they have two opponents coming to town that they are more than capable of beating, in the Atlanta Falcons (4-9) and Los Angeles Rams (8-5).