The Athletic’s Matt Barrows provided a few injury updates as the San Francisco 49ers continue training camp. Starting center Weston Richburg missed all of training camp in 2019 but was still ready for Week 1. While that was the hope again this year, Barrows said Richburg’s recovery from a torn patellar tendon on December 8 is taking longer, and it looks as if the Niners starting center would start the season on the PUP list. If that’s the case, Richburg would have to sit out the first six weeks of the regular season; then, the team has a five-week window to allow Richburg to practice.
Richburg being out for six weeks would be a significant blow to the offense. Ben Garland is a serviceable replacement, but he’s not Richburg, and that showed up at critical moments last season. Daniel Brunskill and newly signed Spencer Long could backup Garland. Ross Reynolds, who can play both guard and center, could help out as well. This would also open the door for another offensive lineman to make the roster Week 1. I wonder if, down the line, Brunskill’s long-term future is at center? That’s an entirely different can of worms we won’t open up just yet.
Like Richburg, Barrows figures that defensive tackle Jullian Taylor will begin the season on the PUP list, too. Taylor tore his ACL the week of practice leading up to Week 17. Taylor is reportedly progressing well, but he’s also only eight months removed from his surgery. Once Taylor does return, I believe he can help the defensive line, especially the team’s interior run defense.
Judging by the practice photos, videos, and other reports, the majority of every other 49ers player returning from injury is fully healed. Jalen Hurd and Jordan Reed are being eased back into action. The team wants to ensure they’re in top physical shape before both players are involved in full-contact, team drills. D.J. Jones was out practicing on Saturday, as was Trent Taylor, Jerick McKinnon, Jason Verrett, and a couple of youngsters such as Tim Harris and Shawn Poindexter. All of those players missed the entirety of 2019, save Jones, and are full-go as practice revs up.