At first, Alex Boone assumed the worst.
When Cleveland Browns linebacker Paul Kruger crashed into the back of the lineman's right knee in the third quarter on Sunday, Boone feared he sustained an ACL tear.
"I thought it was blown out," Boone told reporters on Wednesday. "That's why I was freaking out.
"My cleat got stuck when Paul fell on it, so it kind of bent the knee in."
Boone walked off of the field under his own power, but he did not return to the game, which the San Francisco 49ers lost, 24-10.
The 28-year-old underwent an MRI on the injured knee on Monday and got a sigh of relief when he learned of the diagnosis – a sprained MCL.
"I'm just happy it wasn't my ACL," Boone said. "It's the game of football. I get it. It's a rough game. I don't think he maliciously did it. It was an accident."
With just three games remaining in the season, it is unclear whether or not Boone will suit up again this year. He called his situation "week to week."
If Boone is unable to play, Marcus Martin is the likely candidate to replace him. The second-year lineman has started all 13 games this year at center, but he moved over to Boone's left guard spot after the injury. Daniel Kilgore took over at center.
"I think he did good," Boone said of Martin's performance. "There are things we can clean up on the offensive line, obviously nine sacks in unacceptable, but at the end of the day, you get thrown into a pressure situation against a hostile defense, I think he did a good job."
Boone is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his six-year career in March. The Ohio State product originally signed with the 49ers as an undrafted rookie in 2009 and would welcome a new deal with the club if the two sides can come to an agreement.
"I'm excited about free agency, but at the same time, I'd love to hear an offer from the Niners," Boone said. "This is my home. These are my brothers. They're my family. I'll listen to anything.
"At the end of the day, I'll let things work out the way they are."
49ers Still Committed to Hayne
Jarryd Hayne hasn't appeared in a game since Oct. 18 against the Baltimore Ravens.
But behind the scenes, the former Australian rugby league star has continued his growth on the practice squad.
"We see Jarryd in practice, and he's practicing very hard," Jim Tomsula said on Wednesday.
In six games as rookie this year, Hayne averaged 9.5 yards on eight punt returns. He also carried the ball eight times for 25 yards and caught one pass for seven yards.
Since Hayne's removal from the active roster, Bruce Ellington has taken over as the team's punt returner. He has averaged 8.1 yards on 12 returns, including a season-long 36-yard return versus the Browns.
While the 49ers still view Hayne as a weapon in the open field, the coaching staff has prioritized his development on the mental side of the game.
"He needs to learn how to play football," special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey Jr. said. "To learn how to run and cover kicks and protect punts. That kind of stuff, that's going to be invaluable for him with his overall skill development.
"When you just kind of come in, 'OK, I'm just a punt returner,' or, 'I just play running back,' you don't really know all the nuances of the game. I think getting out there and playing on the scout team … you kind of understand the whole thing. You see the big picture of it."
Like Boone, linebacker Michael Wilhoite's ankle injury is being described as "week to week." He left the Week 14 game against the Chicago Bears and sat out on Sunday versus the Browns. In his place, Hodges got the start and recorded seven tackles.
Two players who were also sidelined in Cleveland appear to be on track to return to game action this week. Tomsula and the 49ers "feel really good" about linebacker Aaron Lynch and tight end Garrett Celek, both of whom suffered a concussion in Chicago.
Wide receiver Torrey Smith did not practice on Wednesday while dealing with back spasms. He was limited to just 27 snaps against the Browns. Said Tomsula, "We'll just see how that goes."