As was feared, both Frank Gore and Dominique Zeigler were placed on season-ending Injured Reserve today by the 49ers. Gore fractured his right hip and Zeigler, while initially reported as a "knee strain" (which is generally the on-field prognosis for ACL tears), ended up having a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Singletary was quoted in the press release saying:
"It is unfortunate that we had to place Frank on IR. He is not only a great football player, but a tremendous leader. He plays with such passion and desire, two traits that will serve him well as he recovers from the injury."
These losses both hurt. We all know that Frank Gore was over 40% of the 49ers offense throughout much of the last two seasons and beyond. Meanwhile Zeigler is a key special teams player and reliable depth receiver in three and four-wide receiver sets.
The 49ers have elevated (RB) DeShawn Wynn and (S) Chris Maragos from the practice squad to take the players' spots on the active roster.
Wynn is a large, bruising back who has played most notably for Green Bay, this next week's opponent. Maragos played well on special teams during the preseason and will be called upon in that role now, with the loss of Zeigler.
I would also expect to see more Kyle Williams and/or Ted Ginn, Jr. as the third/fourth receivers. Many of us have been hoping that Williams would get more touches to show what he could become for the offense. Otherwise it's possible Williams takes over the punt return duties and he and Ginn share touches on offense...or some combination of the two on returns and offense.
While Brian Westbrook is a savvy vet and the 49ers are fortunate to have him to step in for Gore, he also needs his touches limited with chronic knee and ankle problems having kept him out of games the past few years he played in Philadelphia. This means rookie Anthony Dixon should be penciled in for 10 touches per game or so as well. Dixon will have to receive some coaching and learn on the fly as he picks up more and more of the pro game in relief of Westbrook.
The 49ers also waived Kicker Shane Andrus from the roster as Joe Nedney continues to make a recovery. In the wake of missed and blocked field goals, many would have cut Andrus even if Nedney hadn't been ready to return to action.
Lastly the 49ers cut (T) Xavier Fulton from the practice squad. If my math is right this leaves room for one player on the active roster and three spots on the practice squad with all of the roster shuffling today.