The San Francisco 49ers dealt with numerous injuries in Week 7, and Chip Kelly said two of them could result in missed games. Kelly confirmed that outside linebacker Aaron Lynch suffered a high ankle sprain, and cornerback Rashard Robinson suffered an MCL sprain. He could not offer a timetable at this point.
Lynch told the media after the game that he had the high ankle sprain, and would get an MRI on Monday. The MRI will determine the extent of the damage, particularly to the ligaments. Once that information is known, a specific timetable can be determined. A high ankle sprain often results in a four-to-six week absence. It can be less or more, but odds are pretty good Lynch could miss some time. The 49ers have a bye this coming week, so he will be able to rehab it for two weeks before the 49ers return to action.
Lynch got his first sack of the season agains the Bucs, and added two quarterback hits. If he is unable to play in two weeks against the New Orleans Saints, the 49ers would need to figure out some options in the pass rush. Tank Carradine has been reduced to special teams duties, which would suggest he just can’t get it done for them in the pass rush. Ronald Blair has been mentioned as a potential OLB option, but he kept his hand in the dirt for all seven defensive snaps he played on Sunday. Ahmad Brooks and Eli Harold would get the start, and the 49ers would need to figure out something with Blair and Tank.
An MCL sprain is another injury that can vary based on the ligament damage. A sprained ligament is still a tear, but it is a matter of how significant the tear is. Robinson could miss one or two games, or he could miss five or six games. His status will be something to track in the coming weeks.
If Robinson cannot play, Keith Reaser would see a bump in his snaps coming in after Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward. It is interesting to note from the snap count that Ward played 40 snaps in Week 7, while Robinson played 62 snaps. Ward left briefly after a big hit on Mike Evans, but returned shortly after that.
The 49ers defense has been a serious problem this season, and Lynch and Robinson are two guys who were looking like potential key cogs. If both players are out against the New Orleans Saints in Week 9 after the bye, the 49ers defense could be in for a world of hurt.