CINCINNATI – San Francisco 49ers left tackle Joe Staley tried to remain as positive as possible Sunday afternoon as he stood near his locker on crutches and with his left leg in an orthopedic boot.
Staley sustained a fractured left fibula – the non-weight-bearing bone in his lower left leg – in the third quarter of the 49ers’ 41-17 victory Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals. Staley said he is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
“I’m really happy we got the win,” Staley said. “Obviously, it’s a great ‘W’ today, on the road. I’m just bumming personally because this team is really special and I’m really happy and I want to be a part of it. And I’ll do whatever I can to be a part of it for, hopefully, the next six weeks and come back and be ready to go for the end-of-the-season run.”
The 49ers improved to 2-0 with the victory, and the offense had its best day in years against the overmatched Bengals. The 49ers rolled up 572 yards of total offense – 313 yards passing and 259 on the ground. Staley, a six-time Pro Bowl performer, is one of the most-valued members of the team.
Staley will not go on injured reserve, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. A player who goes on IR must remain ineligible for at least eight weeks. The 49ers hope to get Staley back closer to the six-week time frame.
In the meantime, Staley said he will remain active and help rookie Justin Skule as much as possible. Skule became the 49ers’ swing tackle after Shon Campbell sustained a season-ending dislocated ankle in the first preseason game. Skule, a sixth-round draft pick from Vanderbilt, stepped onto the field at left tackle after Staley’s injury.
“I’m going to do everything I can,” Staley said. “One of the things I have here, I definitely have years. I have a lot of knowledge. I always thought of my post-career, when I’m done playing football, it would be good to be a coach. So here’s a time to get a little taste of that.”
The injury Staley sustained is almost identical, he said, to the fractured fibula he sustained in 2010 that limited him to nine games.
“You can’t play through it,” Staley said. “You can play through knee injuries, ankle injuries. Those are dealing with pain. This is different.”
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Staley’s injury appeared to occur when running back Raheem Mostert’s legs got tangled with Staley’s on a third-quarter running play. Staley went down. He hobbled to the Bengals sideline, where a cart took him under the stadium for X-rays that revealed the fractured bone in his lower leg.
“I’m pumped for the win,” Staley said, “but I’m bummed. I’m trying to stay positive. This sucks. It really sucks.”