Jeff Wilson Jr. is the latest name added to the San Francisco 49ers’ injury report.
The report may now resemble an ancient scroll without how many 49ers are out. From standout defensive end Nick Bosa and All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman to various young skill players, injuries have depleted the San Francisco 49ers all season.
Losing Wilson, their underrated young running back, for an indefinite period could be the dagger in San Francisco’s playoff hopes.
Jeff Wilson is in his third NFL season
Football fans outside of San Francisco will be forgiven if they’re unfamiliar with Jeff Wilson Jr.
An impressive running back at North Texas, Wilson signed with the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent in 2018. Wilson ran for 266 yards on an even four yards per carry across six games (two starts) as a rookie.
Although he played in four more games, Wilson’s action dropped to 105 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries. Wilson had a 20-yard catch in the 49ers’ loss to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 54.
Wilson just had a breakout game
Various injuries to his teammates pushed Jeff Wilson Jr., who opened the year on special teams, back into the backfield.
Wilson averaged 1.41 yards per carry in his first four games, however, before he picked things up with 27 yards on four carries in a Week 5 loss to the Dolphins. Facing the New England Patriots in Week 7, however, Wilson finally showed why the 49ers kept him around.
Wilson ran for 112 yards and three touchdowns on 6.59 yards per carry in a 33-6 rout of Cam Newton and his Patriots teammates.
New England hadn’t lost that bad at home since September 2008 in the famous Wildcat game.
As the game went on, 49ers fans and coaches alike had to feel optimistic about Wilson’s breakout performance game. San Francisco has won two straight games entering a Week 8 trip to face Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.
Then, things went poorly at the worst possible time.
Jeff Wilson could be out indefinitely with an ankle injury
Jeff Wilson Jr.’s third touchdown, and his 17th carry, spelled the end of his Week 7 outing.
That wasn’t because 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan pulled the starters. Wilson suffered an ankle injury on the play and left the game.
Shanahan told reporters after the game he believes Wilson has a high-ankle sprain. Such injuries typically keep running backs out for roughly a month.
Wilson’s injury is a major blow to a 49ers team trying to stay in the playoff hunt. San Francisco travels to Seattle in Week 8, then hosts Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on short-rest for a Thursday Night Football showdown.
If things work the 49ers’ way, Wilson could be back as soon as Week 12, when the 49ers travel to face the Rams after a bye week.
With Raheem Mostert also injured, the 49ers may turn to undrafted rookie JaMycal Hasty and give him more carries.
Hasty, who averaged 5.2 yards per carry in four years at Baylor, ran for 57 yards on 6.3 yards per carry against the Patriots and added a 16-yard catch.