The injury bug has begun attacking the 49ers.
This time it is Jimmie Ward who is the victim. Ward suffered a pulled hamstring at Sunday's practice, which Kyle Shanahan classified as "worse than the other guys." This is the first injury Ward has dealt with in a long time and now it looks like there is
“Yeah, there’s a chance," said Shanahan on Ward missing Week 1. "It was a pretty bad hamstring injury and it's not like the other two guys, so we'll see over here over the next couple weeks how it plays out.”
Losing Ward in any capacity is not great for the 49ers. He's a stout player and leader on the team, so his loss will definitely be felt. The good news is that the 49ers are not facing a threatening team in Week 1. They should be more than well-equipped to handle the Bears, even if it is on the road. Still, Ward being out for a while means the 49ers are going to have to explore avenues to bring another safety in.
"We probably will have to add some more people there, especially with Dontae [Johnson], because Dontae has done a real good job also," said Shanahan. "But he might be out this week too with his rib cartilage, so we'll see how it goes with the roster. We might move our nickels around a little bit just for some guys, but hopefully we'll get some more guys in here soon.”
Safety all of a sudden is thin with depth and bumps up Talanoa Hufanga as their best player there now. Ward isn't a player who needs much practice, so there is a bright side there to him missing out. But the real concern here is how long will his hamstring take to heal? How severe is it? Hamstring injuries are always tricky and can easily be aggravated.
The hope with Ward is that he will be recovered by the time the regular season arrives and the 49ers just hold him out of the game as a precautionary measure. It isn't worth risking Ward for that one game or even Week 2 just to miss him for the next several, so the 49ers have to be extremely cautious here.
Speaking of cautious, the 49ers are treading cautiously with Jason Verrett. He sounds like he is improving, but Shanahan isn't ready to roll him out onto the field quite yet. In fact, it is going to be some time before he even gets suited up.
“I haven't asked on him in about a week. I know his expectations are to do that, but like I said earlier, we're going to be real smart with that. We're not going to let him go until he is more than ready to go, so we'll see how these next two weeks go. But it probably would surprise me for Week 1.”
Do not expect Verrett at the beginning of the season. I wouldn't expect him to actually be out there until midseason. There is no rush to bring him back unless both Emmanuel Moseley, who is expected back this week, and Charvarius Ward are out.