This season marks Hurd‘s third in the league, yet the young talent has yet to see the field for even a single snap in a regular season NFL game. After spending each of the previous two years on injured reserve — 2019 with a back injury, and 2020 due to an ACL tear that occurred during training camp — injury concerns may be surfacing for Hurd yet again.
The wide receiver underwent knee surgery earlier this year, which kept him out of voluntary workouts. But offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel said he looked solid during the first couple sessions of training camp, which began on Wednesday, July 28.
“Yeah, we’ve seen no setbacks,” McDaniel told media members following practice on Friday, July 29. “Every time he’s been on the field, we’ve been very pumped about that player at the wide receiver position. Really, it’s been him needing to be available, and so far so good.”
Hurd Missed 2 Consecutive Practices Following Positive News
Despite the optimism from coaches, however, reports came out of camp Saturday that Hurd had missed his second practice session in a row.
The first one on Friday was scheduled, a move the franchise is making with other Niners players returning from injury this season, and something to which head coach Kyle Shanahan has eluded as a possibility in the days leading up to camp.
“I’d be surprised if they got into team drills within a week,” Shanahan said on July 27 in reference to players like Hurd, Nick Bosa and Dee Ford coming back from serious injury concerns last year. “But as soon as they’re ready, they’ll be out there.”
Then, Saturday happened.
“Nick Bosa (ACL) and Jalen Hurd (ACL) got days off yesterday,” Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweeted at 7:43 a.m. Saturday. “Bosa is back for today’s practice, but there’s no sign of Hurd yet.”
Approximately an hour and a half later, it became clear that Hurd had not participated in any practice activities at all.
“WR Jalen Hurd missed his second straight practice today,” tweeted Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee. “Awaiting details from the team.”
As of Saturday evening, none of those details had been released by the Niners to media members or the general public.
San Francisco Sidelined 2 Other Players Friday With Injury
It isn’t just Hurd who has missed time unexpectedly for the Niners in the last days of July.
Defensive lineman Maurice Hurst missed the team’s third official practice Friday with an ankle injury, though Niners officials dubbed it as “slight.” Tight end MyCole Pruitt is battling a calf injury, which Shanahan said will keep Pruitt out for a significant period of time.
Neither Hurst nor Pruitt are integral pieces to what the Niners plan to do this season.
Hurst, drafted in 2018, was waived by the Las Vegas Raiders after tallying just 14 tackles and 0.5 sacks last season. Pruitt, a six-year veteran, came to San Francisco by way of the Tennessee Titans. The tight end played in 11 games total, starting four of them, and registered five catches for 49 yards and two touchdowns.
But the concern is less about the detriment to the team that the losses of Hurst or Pruitt specifically create and more about the overall karma for a Niners squad that just cannot seem to stay healthy.
Jeff Wilson Jr. tore ligaments in his knee earlier this offseason standing up from a chair in the locker room and could miss nearly half the season. Linebacker Fred Warner issued positive comments on the progression of Ford’s potential comeback from back and neck injuries that sidelined him for 15 of the team’s 16 games last year, but his return trajectory has been curbed multiple times already during 2021 alone.
Injury concerns during the Niners voluntary workout sessions earlier this summer led Shanahan and company to simply pack it in and say enough was enough, breaking off practices several days early.
So to lose a couple of relatively young players on only the third day of camp, before any real contact has even begun, has to make the Niners faithful wonder if some of last year’s incredibly poor injury luck has followed the roster into this season. Saturday’s news about Hurd will do nothing but deepen those worries.