When it rains, it pours, and it seems like the San Francisco 49ers are going to need an umbrella.
After an offseason that has seen receivers Richie James Jr. and Deebo Samuel hit the sidelines due to injury and an opt-out from veteran receiver Travis Benjamin, it appears as if the 49ers will lose another important offensive weapon.
According to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo, second-year WR Jalen Hurd is undergoing an MRI today for what is feared to be a major knee injury that he suffered during the second day of training camp on Sunday.
#49ers WR Jalen Hurd is undergoing an MRI this morning after suffering what’s believed to be a major knee injury in practice yesterday, sources tell me and @RapSheet. The fear is the test will reveal a torn ACL. Test will tell full story.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 17, 2020
While the results are not yet in, this story will update with reliable reports or an announcement.
According to the Sacramento Bee’s Chris Biderman, the injury was suffered in a non-contact situation and with no other players around.
Hurd took a tumble with no one around. A non-contact injury, though he was able to walk off the field. https://t.co/CHQM6inYmY
— Chris Biderman (@ChrisBiderman) August 17, 2020
This is especially hard to see, considering that Hurd missed the entirety of the 2019 campaign due to a preseason injury after impressing throughout the 2019 offseason.
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Hurd’s Injury History
After joining San Francisco as a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Hurd didn’t take long to impress. In fact, NBC Sports’ Peter King made him a favorite for the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award after watching him practice.
“I walked out of that camp, and we got in the car to go to the next place,” King said, “And the two women I was traveling with said, ‘Well, what was your impression?’ I said, ‘We just saw the 2019 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.’ [Hurd] is going to come out of nowhere. He’s going to be fantastic.”
However, Hurd suffered a stress fracture in his back in the middle of preseason, sending the former Tennessee and Baylor standout to the injury reserve for his first year in the league.
While a torn ACL isn’t a repeat injury in the back, it’s still a massive one to suffer. Recovery in the modern day is more effective than ever, but it’s still the type of injury that can lead to more problems down the road and even affect a player permanently.
It’s somewhat weird because injury was rarely a concern for Hurd in college, but it seems like bad luck or some other intangible force is now following Hurd around in the early stages of his professional career.
Where the 49ers Go From Here
The additions of former Dallas Cowboys receiver Tavon Austin and former Arizona Cardinal J.J. Nelson means that this injury is somewhat already plugged in, but not being able to see the impressive, 6’5″, 229-pound frame of Hurd will be one the 49ers will miss heavily.
Seventh-round pick and rookie Jauan Jennings is likely the most like-for-like replacement, although Hurd seems to have a bit more quickness and explosiveness where as Jennings makes his money on using the frame to box out defenders.
The 49ers could look at another free agent receiver just to continue bolstering the group during what appears to be an injury-riddled period, but the team may consider themselves set with Jennings, Austin and Nelson going forward.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.