The San Francisco 49ers have placed veteran T Jonas Jennings on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Jennings started the first two games for the 49ers at right tackle before leaving the game at Seattle on September 14 just prior to halftime with a shoulder injury.
He missed the next six games before returning to practice after the bye week. He dressed but did not play at Arizona last Monday or on Sunday against St. Louis.
"Jonas did everything in his power to get back from the injury, and he was cleared to return to practice as long as he wore a harness," said general manager Scot McCloughan. "It was a matter of pain tolerance, but he wasn't going to be 100% without surgery. We discussed it with Jonas and our medical team and all parties agreed that it would be the best thing for Jonas, and his future, to go ahead and have the surgery now."
Jennings underwent surgery this morning at Stanford on the same shoulder that had been repaired before by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama. McCloughan indicated that he believes Jennings has about a six month recovery process ahead of him, and that with proper rehab, he shouldn't continue to have problems with the shoulder.
"Once you get it buckled down and tight, you can play with it and be fine. There's no reason why he can't come back from this and play again," said McCloughan.
This does mark the third season in four years since joining the 49ers that he's had his season curtailed by an injury, prompting questions about Jennings' future with the team.
"We'll address that at the end of the season. Jennings has two years left on his contract, but durability has been a question. As of right now, he's a 49ers. It's not his fault he got hurt. He's done everything in his power to try to get back and to try to be able to play for us. When he did play for us, he has played well and we've had success with him as a tackle and they are hard to find."
In the week after dislocating his shoulder, Jennings said his rash of injuries since signing on as a free agent with San Francisco has been an embarrassment, and immensely frustrating.
"That's what makes it embarrassing, because I can't control it," explained Jennings. "I tried to do everything I could, because I had already missed some time. Basically I haven't been able to do what my plan was to do coming out to this organization."
Jennings was originally replaced in the lineup by backup veteran tackle Barry Sims, but when Sims went down in the second matchup with Seattle, Adam Snyder slid into the position. Snyder has started the last two games at right tackle, living up to the lofty expectations from his head coach.
"I think Snyder is working his tail off," said Mike Singletary. "Snyder is doing a good job. He's done the things that we've asked him do. Right now, Snyder is the guy."
With Sims also returning to work late last week from his injury, McCloughan said the 49ers felt good enough about their depth for the remaining six games to go ahead and encourage Jennings to proceed with surgery.
"Jonas was set to try to finish the season and play when needed, knowing he'd be the emergency tackle," said McCloughan. "If Snyder wasn't playing the way he was playing and Barry wasn't coming back healthy this week, it would have been different. But, for Jonas' sake, and our sake, to do the surgery sooner than later is better for everybody."
Additionally, the 49ers have replaced Jennings on the 53-man roster with second-year T Jacob Bender, who was signed from the New England practice squad. Bender (6-6, 315) was originally drafted by the New York Jets in the sixth round of the 2007 draft out of Nicholls State. He saw action in two games for the Jets as a rookie on special teams as a lineman in field goal formations and was inactive for 14 contests. Bender was waived by the Jets following training camp in 2008 and was then signed to the New England practice squad.