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The 49ers appear to have averted a season-ending injury for fullback and crucial utility player Kyle Juszczyk, who had to be helped to the sideline during Monday night’s 31-3 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Juszczyk had hobbled slowly to the team’s medical tent before being carted off the field.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game that Juszczyk had suffered a “possible knee sprain” and that he would undergo an MRI on Tuesday. Juszczyk, wearing a full leg brace, told reporters last night that his knee felt “wobbly” when he injured it, but that he didn’t believe the injury was ACL-related.
According to the 49ers, the results of that MRI is that Juszczyk suffered an MCL sprain and is expected to be out for the next 4-6 weeks. While the loss of Juszczyk for that period is significant, it will probably be felt as welcome news for a 49ers team which relies heavily on his blocking and receiving ability in many of their offensive schemes.
Crucially, it would bring him back before the end of the season, at earliest when the 49ers play the Seattle Seahawks at home in Week 10, and probably by Week 12 at home against the Green Bay Packers. That would be around the same time as left tackle Joe Staley, and have them both back for the last stretch of the 49ers’ season, which figures to be the toughest, facing the Packers, Baltimore Ravens (road), New Orleans Saints (road), Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Rams and Seahawks (road).
In Week 13, both Jalen Hurd and Jason Verrett would be eligible to return from injured reserve; in Week 9, Kentavius Street could return, and the same goes for Trent Taylor in Week 11, though only two of those four injured reserve players can return this season. While the news about Juszczyk is negative in the short-term, it’s positive for the long term, and sets up the chance for four key 49ers to return in the second half of the season.