SANTA CLARA – San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dee Ford’s bothersome left knee might require surgery.

But that decision will be made after the season, Ford said, because he figures he knows what must be done to manage the condition that has bothered him in the past.

“I had to deal with it last year, too,” Ford said on Tuesday. “I didn’t expect it to come back this soon, but it’s nothing I can’t take. I’ve been through worse.”

Ford said he dealt with the knee tendinitis and irritation to his quadriceps throughout last season while also playing through a torn groin. Ford, then a member of the Chiefs, ustained the groin injury in Kansas City’s Week 3 game against the 49ers. He did not miss any games on his way to registering a career-high 13 sacks.

When suggested that he has a high tolerance for pain, Ford responded, “I would say.”

The 49ers acquired Ford in an offseason trade from Kansas City for a second-round pick in the 2020 draft to bring some more life to the team’s outside pass rush. Ford has shown what he can do despite experiencing issues with his health.

Ford did not play in the preseason due to his knee condition, and he has been listed as questionable for each of the 49ers’ first three games this season. He sat out the second half of the 49ers’ Week 2 game at Cincinnati and was not available to practice last week until Friday.


Ford is tied for the 49ers lead, along with DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead, with two sacks apiece. Ford is scheduled to receive some valuable rest and rehabilitation the next week weeks. The 49ers return from the bye week to face the Cleveland Browns on Monday, Oct. 7.

He said his knee condition will be re-evaluated after he manages his health on a weekly basis for the remainder of the season.

“We’ll go further once we get done at the end of the year,” he said. “We’ll see what we have to do. We’ll have to do something, of course. This is nothing that’s going to hinder me this year. I’ve been through worse.”

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Ford first experienced his left knee issues in 2013 when he sustained a torn medial-collateral ligament two weeks before the start of his final season at Auburn. He missed two games but did not give the condition proper time for a full recovery.

Ford missed 10 games in 2017 with a back injury, which ultimately required him to be played on season-ending injured reserve.

“I played through a lot of stuff,” he said.