49ers hope Nick Bosa, Jerick McKinnon, others will be ready for Week 1

49ers hope Nick Bosa, Jerick McKinnon, others will be ready for Week 1

SANTA CLARA – The bad news came Wednesday morning.

But one day later, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said he felt fortunate that the outlooks for defensive end Nick Bosa and cornerback Jason Verrett were not altogether gloomy.

Bosa and Verrett sustained ankle injuries in practice that could keep each player out for approximately four weeks. Shanahan said he hopes that both will be available for Week 1 of the regular season on Sept. 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Shanahan said Bosa was lucky to avoid a season-ending knee injury when a 300-pound-plus teammate landed on his lower leg. And, initially, the 49ers thought Verrett’s injury was significant.

“I think he was in a little dark place yesterday morning because we thought it was going to be worse than it was,” Shanahan said of Verrett. “The day ended up positive.”

Bosa and Verrett are not the only 49ers players whose availabilities for Week 1 are in question. Running back Jerick McKinnon, nickel back K’Waun Williams and center Weston Richburg will be sidelined for multiple weeks.

McKinnon had a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment after experiencing soreness in his knee after two days of returning to practice. He’ll have two weeks to recover after the treatment, then 18 days before Week 1 of the regular season, Shanahan said.

“If he’s ready, that would be great,” Shanahan said. “If not, we’ll be patient with him.”

Williams underwent an arthroscopic procedure, and Richburg remains on the physically unable to perform list after offseason surgery.

Bosa and Verrett have experienced their share of injuries in the past, which makes the injuries they sustained in practice even more difficult to handle.

“You’re dealing with two guys that it means more to them to play football and be successful than you could ever imagine,” Shanahan said. “It’s their livelihoods. It’s everything they do.”

Bosa was one of the standouts of training camp through the team’s first 10 practices. The 49ers selected him No. 2 overall in the draft despite him playing in just 2 ½ games in his final college season before sustaining a core muscle injury.

“I’ve been around one of the most physical rookies I’ve been around, as far as playing the run and playing the pass,” Shanahan said. “He gets after it. He’s tough as can-be.”

[RELATED: NFL rumors: 49ers' Nick Bosa, Jason Verrett have ankle sprains, MRIs show]

Verrett has appeared in just 25 games since entering the 2014 as a first-round draft pick of the Chargers. He missed all of last season with an Achilles tear.

“What Jason’s been through these last few years,” Shanahan said. “Everybody knows how good of a corner he is – not just us, everyone does. And for him to not be able to go out there and show that has got to be frustrating for him.”

Ex-49er sees Jamal Adams as next Richard Sherman-type face of NFL

Ex-49er sees Jamal Adams as next Richard Sherman-type face of NFL

During his time in Seattle, Richard Sherman was very visible.

Sherman might have been the villain, but he was the face of a perennial Super Bowl contender. He was the leader of the Legion of Boom.

It's hard for a defensive player to earn the distinction of face of the team or face of the NFL. That honor is usually reserved for quarterbacks.

But is there a young defensive player currently in the NFL that could develop into the face of the NFL? Yes, according to former 49ers practice squad player and current Houston Texans defensive back Michael Thomas.

And that player just happens to be New York Jets safety Jamal Adams, who the 49ers have their eyes on.

"I think I want to see defensive players have the same marketability and opportunities as the “faces of the league” as offensive players," Thomas wrote as the guest writer for NBC Sports' Peter King's "Football Morning in America" column. "Richard Sherman is probably the closest thing we have. He built that larger-than-life persona at the height of the Legion of Boom in Seattle and that’s the sort of thing we need. The bigger a player like Richard Sherman is, the better it will be for the next generation of defensive superstars, like a Jamal Adams, so that they can continue to grow their marketability and raise their platform."

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Adams is unhappy with his current contract situation in New York, and has requested a trade. The Jets still have two years of team control over Adams, so they aren't exactly inclined to trade the All-Pro.

The big difference between Sherman and Adams is that the current 49ers cornerback has a very outgoing personality. For someone who plays in The Big Apple, Adams' persona isn't exactly well known. Can he be the face of the NFL? Yes, he wants the big contract that comes with being an elite player, but does he want that title of "Face of the NFL?"

"Obviously that persona has to come with performing on the field, and that’s why I think Jamal Adams is probably the next big thing who could fill that outsized role after Richard Sherman," Thomas wrote. "His productivity on the field is there. I don’t know what exactly the hype looks like – maybe it’s commercials, like Troy Polamalu with the hair, or maybe it’s getting to the point where, like Sherm, he’s big enough to make it on the cover of Madden. Whatever it is, I just want that for our defensive players, that shine, visibility and compensation, even if it means leaning in to that role as a villain."

[RELATED: Deebo wants Adams on 49ers]

The good news for Adams is that he's still just 24 years old and is entering his fourth NFL season. He still has time to build his public persona and grow into a potential "Face of the NFL."

And if the 49ers can figure out how to fit Adams' salary onto their roster, he can do it while playing with Sherman.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Watch Joe Montana 49ers highlights from dominant 1989 NFL playoffs

Watch Joe Montana 49ers highlights from dominant 1989 NFL playoffs

Joe Montana displayed pinpoint accuracy in the 1989 NFL season, completing 70.2 percent of his passes, and he only was intercepted eight times. In the playoffs, though, the MVP was downright unstoppable. 

Over 83 pass attempts, Montana didn't throw a single interception in three playoffs games. He completed an absurd 78.3 percent of his passes, and had 800 passing yards with 11 touchdowns. Let's take a walk down memory lane, and watch all of Montana's TDs from that dominant three-game run. 

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

That's one minute of purely dominant football. The 49ers outscored their opponents by 100 points, 126-26, in just three games. They averaged over 33 points per game while only allowing under nine. 

Montana obviously was the captain that steered this scoring onslaught. He averaged 267 passing yards per game and nearly four touchdowns. In the 49ers' 55-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV, Montana completed 22 of his 29 pass attempts for 297 yards and five touchdowns. 

[RELATED: This stat shows how 49ers' Aiyuk can be reliable receiver]

Oh, and Jerry Rice helped a bit as Montana's No. 1 receiver. All he did was finish with seven receptions for 148 yards and three touchdowns. 

When the bright lights came on, Montana was at his best. He went a perfect 4-0 in the Super Bowl, and his run in the 1989 playoffs was nothing short of perfect football.