The San Francisco 49ers placed defensive end Tank Carradine on injured reserve, the team announced on Monday (first reported by Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee).
Carradine is dealing with a high ankle sprain, which makes his recovery a moving target. In addition to the move, the 49ers signed linebacker Mark Nzeocha.
Something like four-to-six weeks is typical with high ankle sprains, but they can vary wildly. It was recently reported that Carradine’s MRI came back “relatively clean,” but pegged his recovery time in line with the four-to-six weeks mark. There was originally hope that the 49ers wouldn’t need to place him on injured reserve.
The 49ers can move up to two players from injured reserve back to the active roster per season, but players have to remain inactive for eight weeks. With this move, it would sideline Carradine until Week 12 against the Seattle Seahawks at least.
He wouldn’t be eligible to begin practicing until six weeks pass with him on the list, and then the 49ers would have three weeks to make a decision about whether or not to activate him from the list. Even if the 49ers felt that Carradine would be ready earlier than this list would have him inactive for, defensive line depth is important and they need that roster spot.
This is disappointing news and brings into question Carradine’s future with the team. He’s spent much of his 49ers career bouncing between positions and hasn’t been productive, but has found success at the “big end” spot for the 49ers under Robert Saleh.
Carradine played well in the first three games, and has one of the team’s few sacks. It’s likely Solomon Thomas will get the start in Carradine’s absence, with Aaron Lynch being the first defensive end to rotate in.
Here’s the blurb the 49ers sent along on Nzeocha:
Nzeocha (6-3, 240) was originally drafted by the Cowboys in the seventh round (236th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. Over the past two seasons (2015-16), he appeared in eight games and registered four tackles. He was waived by the Cowboys on September 3, 2017 and signed to the team’s practice squad on September 5.
A 27-year-old native of Ansbach, Bavaria in Germany, Nzeocha attended the University of Wyoming. He appeared in 39 games (26 starts) and finished his career with 207 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, seven passes defensed, three forced fumbles, two sacks, one fumble recovery and one interception.
Nzeocha will wear number 46.