The San Francisco 49ers will begin their offseason workout program on Tuesday, with Phase 1 set for the next two weeks. Phase 1 consists of strength and conditioning work, and also physical rehabilitation time for injured players.
The latter is really just an extension of what injured players have been up to over the last few months. Injured players have been doing all sorts of rehab. Some is at the team's facility, some is wherever the player resides in the offseason. I would imagine the more significantly injured players spent a lot of time at the facility, but we'll find out a little more in the coming days. There will not be extensive media availability, but this program provides the first chance for formal media availability.
The next two weeks won't really give us a complete picture of where injured players stand in their rehab. That will happen as we get into phase 2 and 3, with OTAs and minicamp. For now though, I thought I'd put together a list of injured players from the close of the season. We'll be keeping an eye out for more details for each of them. I removed Patrick Willis and Chris Borland since they are no longer on the roster.
I have included players that were on an injury list, or were inactive the final game of the regular season. I am separating them out based on how significant the question marks are for them.
Biggest question marks
This group consists primarily of starters that have been dealing with fairly notable injuries over the last year. Some missed the whole year, others missed a sizable chunk. We don't have final answers for them, so the offseason program is a particularly big deal for getting some answers.
LB NaVorro Bowman - It has been 14 months since Bowman had his knee repaired. He could not make it back last year, and given how things turned out, it is probably best they did not try and get him back AP style. The 49ers could still continue to take it easy with him early in the offseason program, but I'm really hoping he is back on the field, even if it is non-contact, non-padded work.
DT Glenn Dorsey - He spent the first half of the season on injured reserve, but with a return designation while he rehabbed a biceps tear. He was activated off the list and was inactive for three weeks, before the team moved him to season-ending IR for the final three weeks. He should be good to go when the offseason program gets going.
C Daniel Kilgore - He suffered a fracture in his lower left leg, but I have not seen clarification if it was his ankle, his leg, or both. Jim Harbaugh said it was upper ankle, so take that however you want Ian Williams dealt with a lower leg fracture the year before that was a serious problem and sidelined him into the second week of 2014 training camp. That's not to say that Kilgore and Williams dealt with anything similar. We heard about multiple surgeries for Williams, but we have not heard anything similar with Kilgore. Hopefully that means it was a basic, clean break that healed up and he is ready for the program.
TE Vance McDonald - He suffered a back injury at some point that cost him Weeks 13 and 14 before he was put on injured reserve. Matt Maiocco made a comment about concerns over how McDonald's back would hold out. My guess is he is fine for the offseason program, but he's a guy we'll need to keep an eye on.
DB Jimmie Ward - The rookie defensive back had surgery last March for a foot fracture. He bent the screw against the New Orleans Saints, and told the media it was a 10-week recovery period. Trent Baalke said he was making good progress back, but the team might hold him back a bit just to be cautious. My guess is we won't really get a good handle on this until OTAs or the last minicamp at best.
NT Ian Williams - He fractured his fibula last year, a year after a brutal ankle/leg injury cost him the season. We have seen videos of his rehab process. He has spent extensive time at the 49ers facility getting ready. Given that he suffered a left lower leg injury the year before, it is reasonable to be at least a little bit concerned. I would be surprised if he saw extensive work in the offseason program. A training camp full return makes the most sense.
Moderate question marks
RB Kendall Hunter - He tore his ACL at the start of training camp a year ago. A year ago, Chris Culliver was coming off an ACL injury from the previous training camp. The 49ers had him do individual work, but when it came time for 11-on-11 drills during OTAs and minicamp, Culliver did not participate. I suspect we see something similar for Hunter. It's an ACL for a guy who previously tore his Achilles, so it gets the bump up to moderate.
Very few notable question marks
This last one is based in part on assumptions, so take it with a grain of salt.
CB Kenneth Acker - Placed on injured reserve last August. He said the trainers told him he played the final two games of the preseason with a stress fracture in his foot. I'm guessing he's not the only NFL rookie who was told in August he had suffered an injury during the preseason.
OG Alex Boone - He was listed on the Week 17 injury report with a knee injury. He sat out the Wednesday and Thursday practices, and then was placed on injured reserve to close out the week. There has been no word on the injury, but I'd imagine if it was anything serious, we would have heard something or other. Considering they waited through the first two days of practice that final week, I'm not overly concerned.
CB Tramaine Brock - After two months of turf toe issues to start the 2014 season, Brock briefly returned only to suffer a hamstring injury that sidelined him the rest of the year. I'll presume the 49ers were being extra cautious, particularly late when the season was going in the tank.
OLB Ahmad Brooks - He was inactive the final two weeks of the season with a thumb injury. There has been no indication if he had surgery on the thumb, or where things stand. I suspect he'll be fine for the offseason program.
TE Derek Carrier - The 49ers placed him on injured reserve after Week 12 due to some kind of foot issue. He injured the feet in Week 12, missed practice all week and was ruled out for Week 13, but then was placed on injured reserve over that weekend to get space for the return of Garrett Celek. The 49ers signed Carrier to a 2-year contract extension this offseason, so again, I am optimistic it was a short-term injury.
TE Garrett Celek - After spending most of the season on the PUP list with a back disc injury, Celek was active for three games before injuring his ankle. The team placed him on IR for the final two games. They signed him to a one-year contract this offseason. Injuries those final couple weeks are hard to sort out, so again, we'll find out more in the coming weeks.
CB Chris Cook - He suffered a hamstring injury in Week 7, and was placed on injured reserve during the team's bye week. The team re-signed him to a 1-year deal. Hamstrings are tough to gauge, but he has had five months to recover from it.
OG Fou Fonoti - He suffered a left leg injury early in training camp, and after being waived/injured, was moved to injured reserve instead of an injury settlement. Fonoti said in an interview late last summer that the team told him they liked what they saw, thus the reason they kept him around. We don't know the specifics on that leg injury, so again, we'll see (this is a common theme).
RB Carlos Hyde - The 49ers did not place Hyde on injured reserve, but he was listed as inactive the final two weeks of the season. Hyde was listed with an ankle injury, but he had said at the time that he was dealing with back and knee stuff. After Week 15 he had said when the knee injury first happened he thought it was serious. However, he said once it got looked over, it was not serious. I don't expect there to be any issues, but given that he has not played since that injury, and given how important he is to the team in 2015, I figure it makes sense to include him here until we see how active he is early in the offseason workout program. Consider it a cautious inclusion.
WR Chuck Jacobs - The 49ers placed him on injured reserve with a torn ACL following their preseason opener. Like Hunter, I would not expect a ton of 11-on-11 work, but we'll hopefully get some kind of idea how the knee is coming along.
WR Kassim Osgood - He broke his hand in Week 15, and was placed on injured reserve shortly thereafter. He is still a free agent, so it is possible he does not even return to the 49ers. Given that he is not under contract, he will not be at the workout program initially.
FS Eric Reid - Inactive the final game of the season with a concussion. I'd imagine that will not be a concern for the workout program, but concussions remain a concern for Reid long term.
DT Kaleb Ramsey, FB Trey Millard, CB Keith Reaser, OG Brandon Thomas - Ramsey spent the season on the PUP list, while the other three were on the NFI list. The team activated their practice windows, but then placed them on season-ending injured reserve when the window closed.
Reaser and Thomas both had ACL surgery in the last year, with Reaser having a second one in February 2014, and Thomas having his in April of 2014. They should be in position to get going at the workout program given that we are at least a year removed for both. Trent Baalke did say he expected Thomas to be ready to go for the offseason workout program.
Ramsey injured himself during last year's offseason program and spent most of the year on the PUP list. Injuries were a problem for Ramsey throughout college, so we'll see if he is healthy enough to get going. We don't know what his injury as far as I can find.
Millard suffered his ACL injury in late October of 2013. He was effectively red-shirted last year, and I can't think of any reason he should not be able to full participate in camp.