The San Francisco 49ers lost nose tackle Ian Williams to a lower leg fracture this past Saturday, and early indications are that he will miss a few weeks. Matt Barrows reported Williams suffered a small fracture, will not need surgery, and is expected to miss "several weeks". We don't have specifics beyond that, but socalisteph had this tweet yesterday:
Even if it's a small fracture and surgery isn't necessary, Ian Williams will have a short leg cast or brace for about 6 weeks.— So Cali Steph (@SoCaliSteph) November 10, 2014
Several weeks does not tell us exactly what's what, but Barrows mentioned that it is not known whether the team will place him on injured reserve, ending his season. That would seem to indicate a moderately extensive absence. The 49ers will get Glenn Dorsey back this week or next week, and will need to figure out an option for clearing space, so Williams is certainly one option.
There are seven weeks left in the NFL season. If the timeline has Williams missing five or six weeks, do you ride it out? If the 49ers earned a playoff berth, that would add upwards of another month to the season. Dorsey proved he can handle nose tackle work, and Quinton Dial will get opportunities as well. We don't necessarily know what several weeks entails, but a broken bone is going to take some time to get back to full health. The 49ers already used their injured reserve with return designation option on Glenn Dorsey, so what do they do with Williams?