Fooch’s update: The team announced that he suffered a hamstring injury during the team’s conditioning test on Thursday. Ward is “week-to-week” with the injury.
The San Francisco 49ers announced on Friday that free safety Jimmie Ward will open training camp on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List. Ward was by all accounts a full participant in the offseason workout program, so it is unclear what injury led to this decision. Kyle Shanahan will meet with the media after practice, and will likely have an update.
Shanahan said on Thursday that he did not anticipate anybody starting camp on the PUP or NFI lists. Something changed for Ward, likely based on his incoming physical. This is not an ideal situation, but as Steph and I discussed the other day in explaining the injury lists, it could simply be an early precaution.
If the 49ers had not placed Ward on the PUP list to start camp, they would not have been able to do so the rest of camp. So, if Ward had an injury that seemed minor and he took part in the first practice and realized it was a bigger deal, he would not be allowed to go on the PUP list. Ideally the injury is minor and he will be activated in the next couple days. A player can be activated at any time during training camp and the preseason if he is on the Active/PUP list. And if it is a bigger deal, he remains eligible for the in-season Reserve/PUP list.
Lorenzo Jerome is the likely candidate to get snaps at free safety in his place, but the team could also move Adrian Colbert to safety. Colbert has been playing cornerback, but there has been discussion about trying him at safety as well. Depending on how long Ward is on the PUP list, this opens the door for Colbert to cross-train.