Injury Blues: 49ers racking up preseason casualties left & right

Aug 20, 2023, 2:46 PM | Updated: 2:49 pm

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Danny Gray (6) takes part in a drill during the team's OTA practi...

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Saturday’s preseason game may have ended with a win, but the 49ers lost more personnel in the locker room. The latest player being wide receiver Danny Gray.

The second-year speedster suffered a SC joint sprain to his right shoulder, getting hurt on the opening kickoff Saturday. Returning the kick, Gray was tackled by Broncos’ cornerback Ja’Quan McMillan at the 49ers’ 23-yard-line. Coming up with visible discomfort, Gray was ruled out of the contest shortly thereafter.

While the 49ers feel fortunate to have avoided a broken collarbone, the injury will still require further evaluation for a few weeks on the sidelines.

“It’s a bad injury. Still not great news. Better than a break,” coach Kyle Shanahan said, via conference call Sunday. “It doesn’t sound like he’ll be ready by the beginning of the [regular season].”

The Red & Gold also lost defensive linemen Kerry Hyder Jr. (stinger) and running back Jeremy McNichols (hamstring) during the weekend’s preseason clash.

San Francisco has taken blows to numerous positions on both sides of the football this month, with defensive linemen Taco Charlton placed on season-ending injured reserve Saturday. Other players already sidelined include WR Ray-Ray McCloud (wrist), linebacker Oren Burks (PCL), and safety George Odum (SC joint).

However, Shanahan did deliver some good news one the injury front Sunday, with key players returning to practice this week. Those include defensive end Drake Jackson, DL Javon Kinlaw, RB Elijah Mitchell and tight end George Kittle.

On another note, Kyle Shanahan left Saturday’s exhibition pleased with Brock Purdy’s performance.

While only playing one series, the second-year quarterback delivered enough plays to secure his position as the starter for the regular season. The only play the coach wants back though, is Purdy’s last.

Rolling out to his right, the Arizona native scrambled for eight yards to land at the Broncos’ two-yard-line. Looking back, WR Jauan Jennings had an open crease in the secondary on the play, but Purdy missed it. While the coach understands his QB’s thinking, he wishes that Purdy got the ball to his wideout.

“I mean, he was good to break the pocket, which I think was smart. They gave him a lane to break and extend it on third & goal from the [eight-yard-line]. I just wish he kept his eyes up a little bit longer, because Jauan flashed open in front of him and Brock had decided to scramble a little before that. So, I think if he would have kept his eyes up, he might have had the off-schedule to Jauan, but once he cut back inside, I was just begging for him to get down,” Shanahan explained.

All in all, it was a good return to football for Purdy, finishing four of five, with 65 yards passing and a 118.8 quarterback rating.

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