The San Francisco 49ers were forced to say goodbye to starting running back Raheem Mostert after less than one game this season. Now, a full month later, the inspirational Niners leader is finally going under the knife.
David Lombardi, of The Athletic, took to Twitter on Tuesday, October 12 to report the news of Mostert’s surgery to repair the chipped knee cartilage he suffered during the first half of the Niners’ Week 1 loss to the Detroit Lions.
“Raheem Mostert is undergoing surgery on his chipped knee cartilage today,” Lombardi wrote. “Kyle Shanahan said a couple weeks ago that it typically takes some time to find the correct donor components for the operation. Mostert’s 49ers contract expires after this season.”
Mostert Vows Return to NFL Field After Another Season Marred by Injury
That Mostert will return to an NFL field is likely. He said so as much on Tuesday, September 14 when the news broke that he would have to undergo season-ending surgery because of the knee injury.
Mostert took to Twitter to share a message of hope with the fans after coming to the decision based on the advice of multiple doctors. His message was as follows:
“After consulting with multiple doctors and weighing my options, I will be having season ending surgery to repair my knee.
This gives me, without a doubt in my mind, the best possibility at coming back 110%. I have ALWAYS come back stronger and I will this time too! I have faith in myself, my doctors, my support system, my team, and God. He makes no mistakes.
I’m gutted. This sucks! This is obviously not what I worked so hard for. I wish more than anything I could be out there on the field with my brothers!!!
I’M FAR FROM DONE!”
The Niners veteran has played seven years in the league — a measure of longevity, particularly for a running back — and he has suffered his fair share of injuries. He missed 8 starts for the Niners in 2020 and will miss 16 of 17 starts in 2021.
However, the number of games for which Mostert has been absent leave relatively little tread on his tires. He has appeared in just 59 contests over the course of his career, rushing the ball only 284 times during that span, according to Pro Football Reference.
The evidence lends itself to the analysis that Mostert is somewhat fragile, particularly for the brutality of the position he plays, but that he can bounce back from injury and, when he does, still has spring in his step and value to a team.
Mostert on Final Year of Contract, Niners Have Cheaper Options
It is unclear, though, if the Niners will look for better value elsewhere amid younger and more physically stable running backs on their roster.
Mostert is entering the final year of his contract with San Francisco, which all told will pay the RB upwards of $9 million for his previous three seasons of work in the Bay Area. But when it’s all said and done, Mostert will have appeared in just 25 of 49 regular season games over that three-year stretch. Unless the running back proves willing to take a discount, it doesn’t make a ton of sense for the Niners to pursue another contract for Mostert.
San Francisco showed that bringing young backfield reinforcements onto the roster was a priority during this year’s NFL draft, when they selected Trey Sermon in the third round and Elijah Mitchell in the fifth. Both have started games this season in Mostert’s stead and both will play on rookie contracts for several years to come.
Jeff Wilson Jr., who led the Niners in rushing last season despite injuries of his own and playing behind Mostert when he was healthy, is expected to return to the active roster in November after hurting his knee during the preseason.