The 49ers won the battle. It remains to be seen if they lost the war.
San Francisco earned its second consecutive road win with a dominant 41-17 decision Sunday in Cincinnati. The 49ers are 2-0 for the first time since 2012, and yet, the postgame locker room wasn't as joyous as one naturally would expect.
That's because stalwart left tackle Joe Staley suffered a broken left fibula, which he says will keep him out the next six to eight weeks.
NBC Sports Bay Area's Jeff Garcia knows a thing or two about a broken fibula, having suffered the same injury in a 2005 preseason game with the Detroit Lions, and he revealed on 49ers Postgame Live following the victory that Staley's true recovery time might, in fact, be considerably longer.
"It took me a good eight weeks of just recovering, healing, when I thought I could step back out on the field, and I rushed it." Garcia recalled. "I was in a hurry to get back on the field, be the quarterback for the team, be a leader on the field and do what I'm supposed to be doing. But that being said, when I got out there, I was not nearly 100-percent. I ended up hurting it again and forced myself off the field once again."
A broken fibula is tough enough for any football player to recover from, but Garcia argues it's an even taller task for someone at Staley's position.
"Granted, we all have to play through injury," Garcia continued. "We all have to play through pain. But when your legs are your survival, especially at the left tackle position -- being able to plant and being able to utilize that leg to stop the rush, to adjust to the rush, the speed coming off the edge -- that's a major thing. And you're talking about a 300-pound man, now, on a broken fibula. So, we're hoping that it can heal within that eight-week period time, but that's really just getting back to, 'OK, I can jog now. I can do some things that are more physically active.' That doesn't mean you can step on the field and play against some All-Pros coming off the edge."
Eight weeks from Sunday would be the day before the 49ers' Week 11 home game against the Seattle Seahawks and newly acquired edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney. Even if Staley indeed returns at or before that date, it seems unlikely he'll be in top shape for what looks increasingly like a crucial NFC West rivalry game.