Kendall Hunter injury update: 49ers running back running sprints, not making cuts

USA TODAY Sports

A quick update on Kendall Hunter's status as he returns from a torn Achilles.

The start of the 49ers offseason program means players are available to talk with the media. I have a Twitter list for 49ers media, which you can check out for some quotations from various players.

Kendall Hunter spoke briefly with the media, providing an update on his recovery from his Achilles tear. According to Hunter, he has started running sprints during the 49ers conditioning program. He is not yet making cuts, which will be a pretty big step forward for the young running back. Hunter did tell the media he felt he could make cuts, but the trainers have not had him do that yet.

The 49ers head into the 2013 NFL Draft with solid depth at running back, but plenty of fan discussion about potentially adding a running back like Marcus Lattimore. The 49ers do not necessarily need a running back in 2013, but as Trent Baalke told the media, it's better to draft positions prior to need becoming an issue:

You'd rather draft prior to need. In other words, when you need a cornerback, when you need a running back, when you need an offensive lineman, that year that you need him, that's not the year to be picking them. Because, historically, how many rookies have come in and established themselves as 'the man' at any position?"

Frank Gore is not going to play forever, so the team will need to consider options for the future. That being said, the 49ers do have Jewel Hampton as a bit of an X-factor on the 49ers roster.

If Hunter is not 100% by training camp, the issue becomes a bit more prominent. But even if Hunter is healthy, running back remains a position to at least consider for the future. Baalke talked about the 49ers approach at running back:

"I'm a big believer -- we are big believers -- in a three-headed approach," Baalke said. "In other words, having a group of backs that bring to the table something a little bit different than the other one so you can do a lot of different things. But also having those backs be able to do enough things the same so you don't become so predictable on game day."

This is not shocking news, but it will be interesting to see how, if at all, this impacts the 49ers draft plans next week.

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