The 49ers did not escape yesterday's 23-20 victory over the Rams unscathed. The biggest injury saw offensive tackle Joe Staley fracture his left fibula, in an injury similar to the leg injury that took down center Eric Heitmann. Heitmann was put on IR for other injuries but missed two months with a leg fracture suffered early in training camp. There was mention of four to six weeks, but if the injury is as similar to Heitmann's as it sounds, expect north of six weeks. We'll here a bit more at 11:45 when Coach Singletary speaks to the media.
However, the injury to Staley means we will more than likely bear witness to the return of Barry Sims to the 49ers starting lineup, covering Troy Smith's blind side at left tackle. Sims replaced Staley in the starting lineup last season when Staley injured his PCL and MCL and had to miss the last six or so weeks of the season. In an interesting twist, Sims was arguably the team's best offensive lineman during that time and certainly outplayed Staley, who had some ups and downs.
As soon as word of the injury came out, one of the first questions in the comments here was whether the team would go with Sims or Alex Boone in the starting lineup. Boone remains quite the curiosity given all the big talk about his productive offseason. However, considering he's never played a snap of regular season NFL football, I'd say the chances are somewhere between slim and none that he enters the starting lineup.
And really, I say slim more just to be kind. I see no chance he's in the starting lineup at left tackle next Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It's certainly possible he's active for the game as an emergency option at tackle, particularly in light of other injury concerns. Adam Snyder started at right guard yesterday but had to leave after he sustained a right shoulder sprain. We'll probably get some kind of update today from Coach Singletary, but if Snyder is limited this week or unavailable to practice I'd imagine Boone will be activated this coming Sunday.
However it plays out, one has to wonder if Sims can repeat his performance from last season. He's a year older and he's been on the sidelines for the entire season. I suppose as a veteran he can probably just turn it on as needed, but who really knows. It's just one more wrinkle in a wild season.