The 49ers, already one of the youngest teams in the NFL, will finish their season without another of their most experienced players. Pierre Garcon will be placed on the injured reserve after suffering a neck injury in Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
General manager John Lynch broke the news on Thursday during an appearance on KNBR.
“Unfortunately, every time we’re taking a step forward, we take a step back,” Lynch said.
Garcon fractured a piece of bone in his neck — near the skull — and will miss eight weeks, according to ESPN.
In March, Garcon agreed to a five-year, $47 million contract to join the 49ers’ rebuilding effort. In eight games as the team’s No. 1 receiver this season, he caught 40 passes for 500 yards while failing to get into the end zone.
Injuries have plagued the Niners all season. Garcon will be the 16th player on the injured reserve when the team officially makes the move. He joins other Week 1 starters Arik Armstead and Tank Carradine — as well as projected contributors Jimmie Ward, Malcolm Smith and Joshua Garnett. Lineman Garry Gilliam will likely be added to that list after suffering a knee injury last weekend.
Aldrick Robinson and Kendrick Bourne should play more snaps in Garcon’s absence. Marquise Goodwin was held catchless against the Eagles and shouldn’t be expected to step up any more as Garcon was supposed to be the possession-receiver complement to the speedster, who has thus far failed to deliver on expectations.
On Sunday, the 49ers will play the Arizona Cardinals — owners of a bottom-five defense that should be in prime position to improve on that position against the shorthanded 49ers.
Thursday’s injury report:
Did Not Participate In Practice
G Brandon Fusco (biceps), WR Pierre Garcon (neck), T Garry Gilliam (knee), DT D.J. Jones (knee), DE Aaron Lynch (calf), T Joe Staley (eye), DE Solomon Thomas (knee), CB K’Waun Williams (quadricep)
Limited Participation in Practice
RB Matt Breida (knee), LB Reuben Foster (ribs)
Full Participation in Practice
T Trenton Brown (concussion), LB Brock Coyle (shoulder), DE Elvis Dumervil (not injury related), S Eric Reid (knee)