49ers rushing attack in line for mid-season boost

By Kyle Madson

The 49ers’ running back depth took a hit when Jeff Wilson Jr. went down in OTAs with a torn meniscus. It took another blow in Week 1 when Raheem Mostert left the game with a knee injury after only four snaps. San Francisco is down to just three running backs going into Week 2, but reinforcements are in line to come by the middle of the season.

Mostert’s knee injury will require surgery to repair some damaged cartilage. He’ll be out for at least eight weeks which would put him back in the lineup by Week 10 or so. Head coach Kyle Shanahan on Monday also indicated Wilson is on track for an even earlier return than that.

“Since Jeff had his injury and how’s it been going, he’s definitely on schedule to come back,” Shanahan said. “I think we were saying like between Weeks 6-8, I just haven’t asked for a while. But he’s looked great around here, working out, getting ready, and I know he’ll be helping us at some time this year.”

Wilson’s initial prognosis in June was four-to-six months. He’s on the Physically Unable to Perform list so he’ll be required to miss the first six weeks regardless of his health, so the earliest he can return is Week 7 which falls on Oct. 24 — right at the four-month mark for Wilson. A sixth-month timetable wouldn’t have put him back on the field until late December where he wouldn’t have been able to contribute as much.

Getting Wilson back for half the year or more would be a significant boost for an inexperienced 49ers backfield. Rookie Trey Sermon was inactive for the opener. Rookie Elijah Mitchell has just one game under his belt, and second-year undrafted RB JaMycal Hasty has only played in nine games.

While that is a capable trio that Shanahan expressed confidence in, Wilson looked like a budding star last season in his first expanded opportunity. He led the 49ers with 600 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns. He also had three touchdowns through the air.

Having Wilson back on fresh legs in the middle of the year, followed shortly by Mostert’s return would give the 49ers’ backfield a chance to start hitting its ceiling in time for a playoff push.


What is inkl?

Important stories

See news based on value, not advertising potential. Get the latest news from around the world.

Trusted newsrooms

We bring you reliable news from the world’s most experienced journalists in the most trusted newsrooms.

Ad-free reading

Read without interruptions, distractions or intrusions of privacy.