49ers

Source: 49ers RB Jerick McKinnon out for season with torn ACL

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AP

Source: 49ers RB Jerick McKinnon out for season with torn ACL

The 49ers will not have the services this season of Jerick McKinnon, the running back coach Kyle Shanahan picked in free agency because of his playmaking ability.

McKinnon sustained a torn anterior-cruciate ligament, a season-ending knee injury, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area. The injury occurred during a non-contact play on the final play of practice on Saturday.

The 49ers confirmed an MRI examination revealed McKinnon sustained a torn ACL in his right knee. McKinnon was injured in his first practice back after missing three weeks with a calf injury.

Now, the 49ers will now open the season with Alfred Morris and Matt Breida as the team's top two running backs. The 49ers signed Morris two weeks ago after injuries to McKinnon and Breida, who sustained a separated shoulder during the 49ers’ first preseason game. Breida has been cleared to practice and play.

Special-teams ace Raheem Mostert is the only other running back on the 49ers’ roster. The club will likely look to sign another running back upon placing McKinnon on injured reserve to open a spot on the 49ers’ 53-man roster.

The 49ers did not attempt to re-sign Carlos Hyde in free agency, as Shanahan preferred McKinnon’s versatility and big-play ability. Hyde last season led the 49ers with 938 yards and eight touchdowns on 240 rushing attempts (3.9 average).

McKinnon (5-foot-9, 205 pounds) gained 1,918 yards on a 4.0 average in his first four seasons, all with the Minnesota Vikings. He also caught 142 passes for 984 yards while with the Vikings. The 49ers signed McKinnon to a four-year, $30 million contract on the first day of free agency.

Joe Staley vows to help rookie Justin Skule while he's out 6 to 8 weeks

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J.C. GARCIA

Joe Staley vows to help rookie Justin Skule while he's out 6 to 8 weeks

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.”

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.”

Jeff Garcia, like Joe Staley, broke fibula, explains recovery timeline

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USATSI

Jeff Garcia, like Joe Staley, broke fibula, explains recovery timeline

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."

[RELATED: What we learned about 49ers in Week 2 road win over Bengals]

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.