The San Francisco 49ers suffered several injuries in their season finale loss to the Los Angeles Rams, but one is a notable issue heading into the offseason. Left guard Laken Tomlinson had not missed a snap since moving into the starting lineup Week 2 of the 2017 season. On Sunday, he suffered a knee injury in the second quarter and it has been confirmed as a torn MCL. There was some concern that Tomlinson suffered a torn ACL, but the ACL remains intact.
Tomlinson’s injury is a non-surgical injury, which means he’ll rest the knee and eventually begin the rehab process. Lynch said it could keep him out roughly three months, which takes us into late March. The 49ers offseason workout program gets going in late April, so realistically he could be on track to practice when the team begins OTAs in May. The 49ers could be cautious in his return, but barring any setbacks, the team has dodged a bullet.
The 49ers already faced a guard question with right guard Mike Person due to hit free agency after playing this season on a one-year deal. If Tomlinson had torn his ACL, the team might have found themselves in the market for another guard as well. The 49ers signed Tomlinson to a three-year contract extension in June and he started every snap this season before tearing his MCL. Tomlinson’s 2019 salary is guaranteed for injury and are expected to become fully guaranteed in April, as is the 49ers practice. He is due $2 million in 2019.
If Tomlinson returns to 100 percent, the only question that remains is the right guard position. They might want to re-sign Person, but if not, maybe Joshua Garnett gets another crack at a starting job. He looked like he might claim a starting job in training camp, but an injury sidelined him and he fell down the depth chart. He is entering the fourth year of his rookie contract, so the 49ers have a decision to make about his fifth year option. It seems unlikely they exercise it given that he has fallen mostly out of favor. That being said, he will remain under contract through 2019, and could have an opportunity to compete for the right guard spot if the 49ers move on from Person.