The San Francisco 49ers‘ luck at the running back position has been so unbelievably bad during the first two weeks of the season it almost seems like it can’t be real.
Unfortunately for Niners fans, seeing is believing.
San Francisco looked on Sunday, September 19 as its top three rushers all sustained injuries over the span of roughly five minutes of game time late in the team’s 17-11 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Adam Schefter, of ESPN, tweeted out the Niners’ injury report following the contest.
“49ers’ RB injury report: Elijah Mitchell (right shoulder), JaMycal Hasty (ankle), Trey Sermon (concussion),” the tweet said.
An Unfortunate Series of Events For 49ers
The fourth quarter sequence that saw all three players drop on the field was perhaps the longest five minutes of game time Niners fans will experience all season.
It was Mitchell, the team’s fifth-round rookie starter, who fell first by way of a shoulder injury with just over 11 minutes left to play in the game. Hasty hit the deck next with his ankle issue.
Another rookie, Trey Sermon, who was a healthy scratch against the Lions in Week 1, was welcomed to the NFL by a massive hit, promptly fumbling while simultaneously sustaining a concussion on the first carry of his career.
“#49ers Trey Sermon fumbles on his first career carry, and a penalty flag is down next to him as his face is in the turf,” Cam Inman, Niners reporter for Bay Area News Group, tweeted from the game Sunday. “Was in big pain.”
Of the three, it was only Mitchell who returned to game action. The thought out of the San Francisco locker room as that the top dog on the Niners’ RB depth chart sustained a simple stinger. More tests are in store for Mitchell, however, upon his return to the Bay Area.
“He said he was good enough to come back in, so that’s when you think it’s a stinger, but until you have time to go and get an MRI and stuff like that, you never know,” San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan told media members following the game. “But we’re hoping it was just a stinger. You usually feel good about it the way he was talking and the way he was able to come back in the game.”
Shanahan added that the extent of Hasty’s ankle injury remains unclear and will also require further testing before a definitive diagnosis can be made public.
Sermon, on the other hand, is headed for concussion protocol. The recovery time for head injuries can vary greatly, and the rookie will return to active status only once he receives the all clear from the Niners’ medical staff.
Mostert Out For Season
The Niners have had eight running backs on their roster since offseason workouts began. Five of them have been injured to one extent or another.
Those include RB1 Raheem Mostert, who went down with a season-ending knee issue sustained after just two carries against the Lions in Week 1.
Also injured early was Jeff Wilson Jr., who led San Francisco in rushing last season but sustained a freak knee injury while standing up from a locker room chair following a summer workout session. He is expected to return at some point in the mid-season.
The Niners signed, and then cut, former New York Giants rusher Wayne Gallman following the best season of his career as a 10-game starting stand-in for Saquon Barkley in 2020.
San Francisco also added two running backs to its stable over the past week; Trenton Cannon, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens, and Kerryon Johnson, a former starter for the Lions who has more yards and touchdowns than the three Niners’ RBs who were hurt Sunday combined.
Cannon was on the active roster in Philadelphia, though the intent was to use him solely as a special teams player. Due to the injuries, he did see action at the running back position against the Eagles.
More RB signings could be coming from the Niners in the near future, especially if further tests produce bad news for Hasty and Mitchell. San Francisco carried the ball 38 times for 117 yards on the ground Sunday, per ESPN’s official box score. That followed totals of 28 carries for 131 yards in Week 1.
Niners running backs have also been targeted 12 times in the passing game through two weeks of regular season play.