Despite key position groups being hit with various injuries throughout the 2021 season, the San Francisco 49ers leaned heavily on their depth, grit and younger talent to advance to the team's second NFC Championship Game in the last three years.
The 49ers had more than 20 players land on the Injured Reserve list during the 2021 campaign. Eight closed out the 17-game season still on that list, with five of those players returning to the team for the upcoming year.
Here is a recap of their injuries and look into their statuses as the team closes in on the start of training camp:
Take a look at the top photos from the team's mandatory minicamp practices where players prepared for the start of the 2022 season.
The veteran cornerback's third season with San Francisco ended right where it started, at Ford Field during the fourth quarter of the 49ers opener versus the Detroit Lions. Verrett suffered a non-contact injury while defending Lions wide receiver Trinity Benson that resulted in a season-ending ACL tear. This most recent injury is one of many that Verrett has endured throughout his career, beginning with a labrum tear in his rookie year (2014) with the then San Diego Chargers. Verrett has missed ten or more games in five of his eight seasons in the league and sat out the entirety of the 2018 season due to injury.
This offseason, Verrett signed to a one-year deal with San Francisco and made an appearance at OTAs.
"We were pumped to get Jason back and we know it's been a hard recovery for him like he's gone through a number of times," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "I know when he got back here and everyone saw him, everyone's pumped to have that guy back, and we're all pulling that he can get healthy for training camp."
San Francisco's fifth-year tackle started in eight games before suffering a season-ending quad tear in Week 9 versus the Arizona Cardinals. McGlinchey underwent surgery to repair his torn quadriceps tendon in November and after making good progress in his rehabilitation, is expected to play a major role in the 2022 season.
"Mike's doing well," general manager John Lynch said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "He had a significant surgery to repair that quad tendon, but just as Mike has always done, he attacks everything 100 percent and his rehab is going really well."
The 49ers opted to exercise the offensive lineman's fifth-year option during the offseason.
A lingering knee injury that caused Javon Kinlaw to miss the 2021 season opener sidelined the second-year defensive tackle after playing in just four contests last year. Kinlaw landed on the Injured Reserve list in late October and underwent ACL reconstruction on his knee. In his four starts his sophomore season, Kinlaw recorded eight tackles and a quarterback hit. The defensive lineman is expected to be back to health in time for training camp after rehabbing first in Los Angeles and then with the team in Santa Clara.
"Those guys (Mike McGlinchey and Javon Kinlaw) have been great," Shanahan said regarding the pair's offseason progression. "We didn't expect to have them until training camp, but just looking at them out there and how they're moving. We consider them ahead of schedule and it's been very positive on both of those guys."
The 49ers front line expects to have fourth year offensive tackle Justin Skule back in action for the 2022 season. Skule missed all of last season after suffering a torn ACL during the team's organized team activities just over a year ago. Fast-forward to 2022, the offensive lineman is on track for training camp, participating in the 49ers most recent OTAs.
Defensive lineman Dee Ford appeared in just six games during the 2021 season due to an intricate back and neck injury. This is the same injury that sidelined Ford for most of the 49ers 2020 campaign. After a good start to 2021, the veteran pass rusher's injury resurfaced after taking a hit in Week 7 that landed him on the team's Injured Reserve list. There was hope that Ford could make a comeback as soon as Week 11, causing the team to open his practice window. A setback, however, ended all possibilities of him returning to the active roster for the remainder of the year. Ford has appeared in a total of 18 games in his three seasons with San Francisco, recording 9.5 sacks for the 49ers. Shanahan confirmed that Ford received a good bill of health prior to the team's minicamp.