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LaMichael James injury: 49ers running back has sprained MCL, per Barrows

LaMichael James suffered a knee injury Thursday evening, and it is now being reported as an MCL sprain. We break down the implications and timetable for his return.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

The San Francisco 49ers made it through their preseason schedule in relatively decent shape, but they will be dealing with one moderately serious injury. LaMichael James was spotted icing his knee in the first half of the game, and Matt Barrows is now reporting that he suffered a sprained MCL.

An MCL sprain can be a 1, 2 or 3 grade sprain. The best case scenario in a grade 1 is that you have some stretching and damage to the fibers with rest and some physical rehab, but no surgery. Grade 2 is some partial tearing of the ligament. A grade 3 "sprain" is a complete tear of the ligament. That schedule of 1, 2 and 3 grades thus brings you somewhere along that range.

Although the 49ers likely won't confirm, this should keep him out of the 49ers home opener against the Packers, and I suspect the Seahawks game as well. He could very well miss several additional games, but we'll have to wait for more details to come out before we can know with any certainty.

This will get interesting with roster cuts coming over the next 24 hours. Does the team keep Jewel Hampton, or do they figure Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon can handle the workload?