Running back Jeff Wilson Jr. is likely heading to the physically unable to perform list for the opening of the regular season, but the 49ers expect him to still make a major contribution during the 2021 season.
General manager John Lynch said Wilson experienced the knee injury Thursday in the locker room after a legs workout in the 49ers' weight room.
"He was sitting down, talking to some teammates, he got up and as he got up and turned, felt a pop in his knee and kind of got stuck," 49ers general manager John Lynch said on Wednesday. "And he could tell something was wrong."
On Friday, Wilson underwent more imaging and it was revealed he had a "substantial" tear of his meniscus cartilage. After consulting with the 49ers' medical staff, Wilson opted for immediate surgery.
"I just spoke with Jeff, and he's a little embarrassed about how it happened, but that's how it happened, and he's over the devastation," Lynch said. "From a team standpoint, I can tell you that we're going to have his back. We're excited about Jeff and his prospects for this season."
If Wilson begins the regular season on PUP, he would be ineligible for the first six weeks of the regular season. The recovery time for his surgery is placed at four to six months.
"Jeff came in excited, did a one-year deal, and his mindset was rock solid, and he was really excited for the opportunity," Lynch said.
"Looking forward to have Jeff being part of our team for however much we get him next year."
The 49ers are not focused on adding to their stable of running backs. The 49ers' depth chart consists of Raheem Mostert, Wayne Gallman Jr., JaMycal Hasty and rookie draft picks Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell.
"We still have five halfbacks and two fullbacks," Lynch said, "so that's a pretty healthy complement of backs. With the Mitchell pick in Round 6, we didn't really intend on taking a back there. He was just there. I'm glad he was there because this helps insulate us there.
"Obviously, Hasty and Gallman and Trey Sermon and Mostert, it's still a group we feel great about. And Jeff is a big part of that equation. We just won't have him at the beginning."
Wilson was the 49ers' leading rusher last season. He gained 600 yards and seven touchdowns on 126 rushing attempts for a 4.8-yard average. He also caught 13 passes for 133 yards and three touchdowns.
Wilson signed a fully guaranteed one-year, $2.025 million contract to return to the 49ers in the offseason as a restricted free agent. He is scheduled for unrestricted free agency at the conclusion of the season.