49ers Injury Rate: Can They Remain Durable?

One of the issues we've discussed as much as any this preseason has been about the injuries 49ers players have suffered this month. The 49ers have dealt with a variety of injuries ranging from likely season-enders (Darius Fleming) to bumps and bruises keeping guys like Ahmad Brooks sidelined. The 49ers are getting a lot of their players back quicker than some of us expected, so things seem to be alright on that front for now.

In previewing the 2012 49ers, there has been some chatter about the 49ers ability to avoid significant injuries to their defensive unit last year. I bring this up now because Eric Branch had an interesting tweet earlier today. Branch tweeted that the total missed games on defense the last four years is not too bad (2011: 8, 2010: 2, 2009: 11, 2008: 3).

Generally speaking, the 49ers have sat in the top third of the league recently in dealing with injuries. Football Outsiders breaks down "Adjusted Games Lost" and the 49ers have consistently ranked well in recent years. The 49ers ranked eighth last year, fourth in 2010 and 12th in 2009 and and sixth in 2008.

AGL looks at the idea "that all players don't affect winning and losing equally, and missing a game isn't the only way a player injury affects winning and losing. Injuries to starters, important situational reserves (e.g., nickel cornerbacks), and injury replacements (i.e., new permanent starters) count towards AGL, whereas injuries to benchwarmers don't. Similarly, injuries that land a player on injured reserve affect AGL more than injuries that force a player to be listed as "questionable," which in turn affect AGL more than injuries that lead to a "probable" game status."

I don't know why the 49ers have consistently ranked well in this category, but this would seem to indicate the team is doing something right to stay healthy, or is wildly overdue. Consider me hoping for the former! Any ideas why this team might have stayed relatively healthy the last four years? Maybe just a good fundamentally sound team?

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