LOS ANGELES – The 49ers were cautiously optimistic running back Carlos Hyde did not sustain a severe knee injury as the team left the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday evening.
Hyde sustained a left knee injury early in the fourth quarter when Los Angeles Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines went low to Hyde as he turned upfield after catching a short pass from Colin Kaepernick.
Hyde buckled to the ground in pain. He required assistance to leave the field and was immediately taken to the 49ers’ locker room for further observation. The extent of Hyde’s injury will not officially be known until he undergoes an MRI examination, but the 49ers were hopeful and optimistic that he sustained a less-severe MCL sprain that will not require surgery.
“I’m praying it’s not serious,” Hyde said after the 49ers’ 22-21 victory.
Although the hit looked as if it could have been interpreted as a dirty play, 49ers defensive backs Antoine Bethea and Rashard Robinson both labeled is as “just a football play.”
“I can’t say that was a dirty play,” Bethea said. “He caught the ball. The corner went to make a tackle.
“You can’t hit them high. That’s what the NFL has pushed the DBs to do. Can’t hit them high. I’ve heard plenty of offensive guys tell me, ‘I’d rather you hit me up high, rather than my legs.’ But those offensive guys aren’t paying our fines. I think it was a clean play. It was just unfortunate that Carlos had to come out.”
Hyde left the game after gaining 38 yards rushing on 13 rushing attempts. He is just 12 yards shy of gaining 1,000 yards on the season.
After the play was originally ruled as an incomplete pass, referee Walt Anderson reversed the call. He determined Hyde caught the pass and Gaines’ hit caused a fumble that Rams defensive lineman Morgan Fox recovered.
The Rams ended up cashing in that turnover for a touchdown to take a 21-7 lead with 10:32 remaining in the fourth quarter before the 49ers’ improbable game-winning rally.