By C.J. Peterson
Special to S.F. Examiner
The 49ers are “extremely concerned” after starting running back Jerick McKinnon suffered a non-contact knee injury Saturday afternoon.
According to head coach Kyle Shanahan, McKinnon made a cut “on air” during his first practice back from a calf injury, leaving the former Viking on the ground, clutching his knee in worrisome fashion.
“No one was around him. He went down and it looked awkward,” said Shanahan on a conference call with media. “We’re nervous about it, that’s for sure.”
A source informed of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that McKinnon tore his ACL. San Francisco acquired McKinnon early in the offseason after signing the free agent back to a four-year, $30 million deal in March.
McKinnon played well during his first four years with Minnesota. Racking up 1,914 yards on the ground and 984 yards through the air, versatility defined his skill set, leading to his arrival in San Francisco.
McKinnon didn’t see much action in the preseason after suffering a pulled calf muscle early in training camp.
In his only appearance, against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 of the preseason, McKinnon was unimpressive in one series played. On three carries, McKinnon netted -4 yards and caught one pass for seven yards to complete an uninspiring effort.
According to Shanahan, McKinnon will have an MRI done on the injured knee later this afternoon to see what damage has been done. The results of which are expected to come in on Sunday.
The 49ers also made 21 cuts Saturday afternoon, complying with league rules that required teams to trim their rosters to 53 players by 1 p.m. PST. According to Shanahan, McKinnon’s injury muddied up that process.
“It was unusual with the timing of it: Just a couple of hours before the final cuts,” said Shanahan. “We won’t know for sure until we get the MRI. So until then, he’s got to be a part of our 53 [man roster] and if we get a bad MRI tomorrow then, obviously he’ll have to go on IR.”
As the 49ers await the test results that will ultimately decide McKinnon’s fate for the season, general manager John Lynch says he’s confident the rest of their roster will be able to compensate for the potential loss.
“We’re concerned but we’re also confident that we have a lot of good football players here and we’re proud of out 53-man roster,” he said.