The 49ers are officially back to work with their first practice scheduled for Thursday. The 49ers are currently engaging in player physicals and we look at each of the injured players and when we can expect their return.
Injury: Tear to both the anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL and PCL) in his left knee. Manningham is six months removed from multiple surgeries to repair the torn ligaments. It was projected Manningham would return in late August, but he is a good candidate for the Reserve/PUP.
Prediction: I think he'll start the season on Reserve/PUP. He will be ineligible to practice or participate in game action for the first six weeks of the season. I believe he can return to practice and be activated on or about week 8.
Injury: Tear to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on the same play that injured Kendal Hunter. Williams sat out of OTAs, but performed drills in front of team doctors in late May. Williams has been vocal and forthright about his rehabilitation. Williams believes he is ready to play. The 49ers placed Williams on the Active/PUP over the weekend, but it appears to be simply an administrative move. He will undergo team physicals with the other veterans. By placing WIliams on the Active/PUP list it protects the team should anything be discovered in the exam.
Prediction: Once a doctor clears him to practice, he will be off the Active/PUP. This could happen by Thursday or soon thereafter.
Injury: Complete Achilles tendon tear. Hunter is roughly seven months removed from the surgical repair of his Achilles tendon. At five months out, he was running and cutting under the supervision of the teams medical staff. He stated at that time, he'd be "ready and sharp" for the beginning of the season. Like Williams, the 49ers likely put Hunter on the Active/PUP knowing the doctors would perform a full evaluation of the Achilles when he underwent his physical.
Prediction: Once a doctor clears him, he is ready to practice with the team. I believe the doctors will clear him relatively soon, but if he is progressing as reported -- he will be certainly be ready to go when the season begins.
Injury: Undisclosed exacerbation of a previous knee injury. Last year, Fleming tore his ACL and the injury took him out of play his entire rookie season. What has been reported by the 49ers has been vague, but we know the team trainers were tending to the same knee he injured last year. Medical records of this nature are not available to the public, but I would love to see his diagnostic tests. He likely underwent a CT and/or MRI of the knee to see if he suffered more injury to the knee.
Without knowing the injury or seeing any medical records, it is next to impossible to know what is going on with Fleming. The fact the injury occurred to the same knee concerns me. After undergoing ACL reconstruction, 25% of patients will suffer a re-injury. It has been over a year since the original tear, but this could be a significant setback for Fleming.
If he only tweaked the knee, it can be treated conservatively. Fleming would be looking at rest, physical therapy, and light strength training. But, even an exacerbation raises concern. There could be degenerative changes and he could have suffered microtears to the ACL. It may not be significant enough to require surgery, but going the conservative route takes more time.
Prediction: Reserve/PUP is the most likely. Since we are in the season, the 49ers will be tight-lipped about all medical modalities the players are expected to undergo. We will see what is released.
Status: Injured (Note: There has not been a formal move of Crabtree to the Active/PUP; however, it is being reported the 49ers will do so come the beginning of training camp).
Injury: Complete tear to Achilles Injury. Two months removed from surgical repair of Achilles tendon. I suspect if Crabtree is moved to Active/PUP it will be done following his team physical. If a player starts on the Active/PUP, he can be moved directly to the Reserve/PUP once the season begins. I discussed the 49ers two options with Crabtree and really believe the best option is Reserve/PUP. If all is going as expected with his rehabilitation, we could see Crabtree be activated anywhere from week 11 to week 13. It is a little risky if his injury drags out past week 13, but it may be a chance the 49ers are willing to take to hold onto their one Reserve/Injured designation for return.
Prediction: Reserve/PUP is likely the way the 49ers will proceed with Crabtree. If that is the case, it is unlikely he will be activated after the sixth week, but the team has another three-week window to get him back to practice. At Week 9, Crabtree could return to practice and the team still has another three-week window (Week 12) to add him back to the 53-man roster. It should be noted the decision to put him on the Reserve/PUP does not have to be made until August 31, so I expect the 49ers to use the entire time period to make a final decision in that regard.
Injury: Dislocated knee and multiple complete tears to his anterior cruciate, lateral collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL, LCL, and PCL). Lattimore is about 9 months removed from total knee reconstruction. If it were up to Lattimore, he would be practicing. However, the 49ers medical staff have insisted he take a more patient approach.
Prediction: I think he'll spend entire season on Reserve/NFI, because we have considerable depth at runningback. The 49ers are prepared to sit him out for the year. If he continues to progress quickly, there is a chance he could be reactivated by week 12; however, given the bigger picture, that would be a premature move and would risk further injury.
Injury: Hairline fracture in his right foot. Marquardt underwent surgery to repair his broken foot on April 12. I do not see him being physically ready for training camp.
Prediction: I believe Marquardt will be put on the Reserve/NFI, and will likely remain there the entire year. With hairline fractures, rest is the key. If he resumes practice too quickly, larger stress fractures can develop. And, those are harder to heal. It takes time. Re-injury could lead to chronic problems, and the stress fracture might never heal properly. With the depth at his position, he is better off letting his foot completely heal before engaging in drills or any activities that could put stress on his foot.
Injury: Dial has a condition known as turf toe. It is a sprain of the ligaments around the big toe, and it can be extremely painful. Turf toe is relatively common among football players. Dial underwent surgery to relieve his symptoms, which shows he most likely had some form of cartilage damage surrounding the joint. When cartilage damage occurs, bone spurs develop and completely immobilize the movement of the joint. The movement is bone on bone and extremely painful. Once the surgeon removes the bone spurs, it frees up the joint and allows proper range of motion. Even after surgery, turf toe can become a chronic condition.
Prediction: Reserve/NFI is the most likely scenario for Dial. The 49ers can activate him after week six if his turf toe symptoms have improved. He should definitely see marked improvement by that time, if not earlier.
Injury: Tear to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Carradine is 7 months removed from knee reconstruction. Having sought out well known physical therapist, Russ Paine, he was as aggressive with his rehabilitation as any athlete I have ever seen. Carradine has stated he was 100% since May, but the 49ers' trainers slowed him down some. He completed individual drills, but is awaiting clearance from the team's medical staff. If his physical goes well, I anticipate he will not be on the NFI list long.
Prediction: Once he receives clearance from the doctors, he will be activated. It is possible, the doctors will want to slow him down some. If that is the case, the 49ers have an option of putting him on the Reserve/NFI and we could see him activated by week six. However, I believe it is unlikely given what we've seen from Carradine thus far.