San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media following the team's ugly loss to the Denver Broncos, and came close to confirming what many expected. Coach Harbaugh said that it appears Daniel Kilgore suffered a break to either his leg or ankle (I suppose, potentially both). He would not say for certain, but x-rays will likely confirm this.
Kilgore suffered the injury at the 9:23 mark of the third quarter. Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall rolled onto the back of Kilgore's leg and on the replay, it was clear something bad had happened. It did not appear to be Marshall's fault, but instead was just one of those unfortunate accidents that is going to happen in a game this physical. A cart was brought out, and trainers placed Kilgore's leg in an air cast.
A fracture likely ends Kilgore's season. We'll find out for certain as soon as the next couple days, but if he is finished for the year, the 49ers will have a roster move to make. Additionally, they will need to figure out their center position. This past May, the team drafted Marcus Martin and signed Dillon Farrell. Martin injured his knee at the end of the preseason, and has been rehabbing ever since. He is no longer on the injury list, but was inactive this week as he looks to get fully up to speed in practice. Farrell has been the 49ers utility interior lineman behind Joe Looney this season. Looney was in the lineup today, and Farrell became primary backup. When Kilgore went down, Farrell took over at center. Farrell briefly rolled his own ankle, but Coach Harbaugh said he should be fine.
The next two weeks through the bye will be critical. The 49ers need to get the chemistry between center and quarterback established. Chemistry is a nebulous thing, but with the center-QB snap exchange, it is one area where improvisation is not going to cut it. Coach Harbaugh would not commit to either Farrell or Martin, but I suspect Martin ends up the starting center coming out of the bye.