The 49ers came out of New Orleans with a 48-46 win over the Saints, but not without a few bumps and bruises.
Coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed the team's worst fears on Monday, announcing that center Weston Richburg will miss the remainder of the season with a torn patellar tendon. Air Force veteran Ben Garland immediately will take over at center. Thankfully for the team, Mike McGlinchey has been healthy for a few games and Joe Staley made it through all 67 snaps in New Orleans.
“Ben is going to get his opportunity here,” Shanahan said. “It was nice to get Staley back in that game. It’s nice that we’ve had McGlinchey for a number of games back going on for about three weeks in a row just playing like his old self and even doing better. So I feel like we’re moving forward a lot offensively with injuries.”
On the defensive side, both pass rusher Dee Ford and cornerback Richard Sherman will miss a few weeks with hamstring injuries. Ford re-aggravated the injury that kept him off the field in Weeks 12 and 13 after only playing four snaps in New Orleans. An MRI confirmed Sherman will be sidelined with a hamstring strain.
Fellow defensive back K’Waun Williams was injured midway through the fourth quarter while making a diving tackle on Saints running back Alvin Kamara and has been placed in concussion protocol.
“The defense is a little harder right now,” Shanahan said. “They haven’t had to go through this as much. Losing Ronald Blair too, and then DaMontre [Moore] when we brought him in. Just adds up a little bit. We got guys who go in there and still play well, but the wear and tear does add up a little bit for them.”
As far as pre-existing injuries, things look positive for receiver Dante Pettis who looks to return to practice this week after being listed as inactive in Week 14. The staff will see how safety Jaquiski Tartt feels on Wednesday after suffering broken ribs in Week 13's loss in Baltimore.
The 49ers also will not rush back defensive tackle Jullian Taylor, who will miss another week with an elbow injury. The team is also evaluating treatment options for receiver Marquise Goodwin, who has been dealing with chronic knee and ankle issues.
“It’s tough,” Shanahan said. “It was a huge win and we enjoyed that a ton obviously but yeah, some mixed feelings today with some of these injuries which is tough. Especially losing Richburg for the year.
“The other guys got some serious ones too. Hopefully, we can keep playing well so we can give them a chance to come back and help us if we can make our season longer than three games.”
Shanahan believes that the team will have to make a few roster moves going forward with so many injuries, but they will wait for the dust to settle before making any decisions.
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“I would think so,” Shanahan said. “We definitely don’t know now because there’s a lot of moving parts here, but definitely anticipate having to do something.”