But on the final play of the half, running back Matt Breida suffered an ankle injury and was not on the field for the start of the third quarter. The 49ers announced it was an ankle injury and that he was questionable to return.
Breida led the 49ers in rushing last year with 814 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 261 yards receiving. But a pair of ankle injuries forced him to miss two games last season, one of many San Francisco players who endured injury-plagued seasons.
Once again, it is an ankle hampering Breida this time. He is still the 49ers leading rusher with 411 yards through the team’s first six games, though his receiving production has dropped with the acquisition of Tevin Coleman.
Pro Football Doc David Chao chimed in on Twitter, stating the injury doesn’t appear to be too serious:
Just before halftime, the 49ers running back appeared to injure his ankle. It looked like he rolled his left ankle, I expect it to be a left low inversion type ankle sprain. This injury doesn’t seem to be similar to his high ankle sprains from the past.
Depth in the Backfield
The 49ers, fortunately, have a ton of depth at the running back position.
Tevin Coleman, who was signed by the 49ers this season, has been extremely productive since returning from an early-season injury. While with the Atlanta Falcons early in his career, Coleman showed strengths in blocking, picking up blitzes, and making positive plays in the receiving game.
Raheem Mostert is another back the 49ers have used in spurts this season, though when on the field he has been a major contributor. He has already set a career-high in carries and he is close to setting a new career mark in rushing yards through less than half of the 49ers games.
Jeff Wilson is also active on Sunday against the Panthers but hadn’t seen any action through the first half. Wilson had 266 yards rushing last season, five more than Mostert, but hasn’t been as involved offensively this year. He does have four rushing touchdowns, however, on just 52 total yards.
Fantasy Replacements Necessary?
The injury doesn’t appear to be serious for Breida, but if he is to miss one or two games, a waiver pickup wouldn’t hurt.
Raheem Mostert would likely slot into Breida’s role with the 49ers if the running back were to miss any significant amount of time. Owned in just 3.8 percent of leagues, the reserve back will likely be available for an easy claim.
Outside of the Bay Area, Rex Burkhead on the New England Patriots could start to see more touches over the coming weeks as he gets back to full strength recovering from a foot injury. Burkhead was active on Sunday for the first time in three weeks and though he didn’t see many touches will be a major participant down the stretch for New England.