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Alex Boone expected to miss rest of season with 'slight MCL tear'

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The San Francisco 49ers will at least get to see what their 2016 offensive line might start to look like.

It appears the San Francisco 49ers will likely be without left guard Alex Boone the rest of the season. Boone suffered a knee injury on Sunday, and had an MRI on Monday. Bleacher Report's Jason Cole is reporting Boone did not suffer a serious knee injury, but that the timeline of it likely means he will sit out the final three games of the season. Here is what Cole had to say:

Fooch's update: Matt Maiocco is also reporting the injury is not believed to be serious, but is unlikely to suit up again this season.

If this all proves to be true, the 49ers will get a chance to start figuring out their plans for after Boone departs in free agency this spring. Yes, it is still possible he returns to the 49ers in 2016, but I highly doubt it happens. The 49ers have proven time and again that they do not spend big money on veteran interior linemen. They will draft high, as we saw with Mike Iupati, and they will invest in veterans like center Jonathan Goodwin, but we will not see them give Boone the kind of deal he can probably get from another team.

Marcus Martin took over at left guard on Sunday after Boone's departure. I would suspect Martin will get the start this coming weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals, but maybe we actually see Brandon Thomas out there. I'm not holding my breath on Thomas, but at some point it would be nice to see him get some regular season playing time. If he is not active this coming weekend against the Bengals, it will tell us just about everything we need to know about his status with this coaching staff. I think most of us have already assumed they are not fans of his work, but this weekend might finalize that.