The San Francisco 49ers are already dealing with a defensive line that’s had names show up on the injury report in the first portion of 2022 training camp.
First, versatile defensive end and tackle Arik Armstead left the Friday, July 29 camp practice in Santa Clara with an MCL sprain in his knee. Armstead, though, told his social media followers “Appreciate the concern. But really it’s not that serious be back very soon. Blessed!!” While Kyle Shanahan told the Bay Area media his injury is “nothing we’re concerned about.”
Then, newcomer Hassan Ridgeway formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles started to deal with a quadriceps strain on Friday, though his injury is considered on the mild side. Rookie sixth rounder Kalia Davis is another dealing with a significant ailment: A season-ending ACL injury he had at Central Florida, which got the 49ers to place him on the non-football injury list to start camp.
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But now, the latest blow to the 49ers is losing key rotational defender Maurice Hurst, who tore his biceps following practice on Friday, July 30. Shanahan told the Bay Area media that he’s expecting Hurst to be lost for the season.
The 27-year-old Hurst, who was entering his second season with the 49ers, reacted to his injury and posted a motivational message online after the report.
What Hurst Shared
The former Oakland/Las Vegas Raider and Michigan Wolverine took to his personal Twitter account to send out this stirring message to the 49ers Faithful — explaining how this hurts but shared how he wants to respond to this obstacle.
“I Appreciate all of the love and support from everyone, I really can’t begin to explain how much this hurts. I hope through my resiliency and this journey that I’m able to inspire those who follow me to keep pushing, work hard and never give up,” Hurst said on social media.
It’s not the first time Hurst has dealt with an ailment while in a 49ers uniform, as he was dealing with a calf injury most of last season. While Hurst was limited to two games last season, he was still being labeled as a potential rotational piece in a loaded trench group for the 49ers. Per Pro Football Reference, Hurst produced eight sacks in his career and has tallied 78 tackles, 53 solo stops and nine tackles for a loss in his career. Hurst was able to clog plays like this when plugged into the lineup for the 49ers:
Hurst’s 6-foot-2, 291-pound presence was considered an option in replacing former three-technique defensive lineman D.J. Jones, who left via free agency to the Denver Broncos.
Who the 49ers Can Turn to Now
While Shanahan is bracing for the fact that Hurst could be out for the season, one former NFL doctor of more than 17 years David J. Chao said Hurst could return sooner than anticipated.
The Athletic’s 49ers insider David Lombardi revealed how Hurst injured his biceps.
But with the growing list of defenders on the injury front with the latest being Hurst, who could the 49ers now turn to?
Newly signed Tomasi Laulile is more than likely to be utilized inside — given his stature at 6-foot-3, 300-pounds. Laulile starred in the USFL with the Houston Gamblers, but also started and thrived at BYU from 2014 to 2016…all during a time he was teammates with All-Pro 49ers linebacker Fred Warner. Robert Nkemdiche, a former first rounder and longtime rival of the 49ers, has “looked good” at defensive tackle per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows.
The 49ers do have a returner in Kevin Givens, now entering his fourth season with the team. Givens has 37 tackles, 22 solo stops and six tackles for a loss per Pro Football Reference. He is credited for one solo stop on dual-threat quarterback Kyler Murray.
Plus, was able to fight through the double team against the Los Angeles Rams with a playoff berth on the line and become a key hole filler when needed.
There’s one more option from the west region the 49ers could turn to: Kevin Atkins out of Fresno State, who showed up to the 49ers as an undrafted free agent. Hurst and Davis being away due to injuries could elevate him up the roster.