Week 1 in doubt for injured 49ers safety Jimmie Ward

Week 1 in doubt for injured 49ers safety Jimmie Ward

Aug. 15 (UPI) — San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmie Ward could miss Week 1 of the NFL season due to a “pretty bad hamstring injury,” coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Monday.

Ward, who started 16 games last season for the 49ers, sustained the injury in practice Sunday and did not practice Monday. Shanahan said Ward “pulled his hamstring a little worse than” other players who recently sustained similar injuries.

Ward was listed as the team’s starting free safety on their first unofficial depth chart. Talanoa Hufanga was listed as the starting strong safety. The 49ers also have George Odom and Leon O’Neal Jr. listed as backups at free safety.

Tarvarius Moore and Tayler Hawkins are listed as backups at strong safety.

Shanahan said the 49ers will “mix it around” with those players and that they are “neck and neck” when it comes to who could get the most work in Ward’s absence.

“We have George, who’s done a good job,” Shanahan said. “We probably will have to add some more people there, especially with [CB] Dontae [Johnson], because Dontae has done a real good job also. But he might be out this week too with his rib cartilage, so we’ll see how it goes with the roster.

“We might move our nickel [defensive backs] around a little bit just for some guys, but hopefully we’ll get some more guys in here soon.”

Ward was the No. 16 rated safety in the NFL last season, according to Pro Football Focus. His 90.2 rating as a run defender was the best at the position.

The eight-ear veteran joined the 49ers as the No. 30 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Ward totaled a career-high 77 combined tackles, six passes defensed, two interceptions and a touchdown last season.

The 49ers will face the Minnesota Vikings in a preseason game Saturday in Minneapolis. They will face the Houston Texans on Aug. 25 in their final preseason game. The 49ers will battle the Chicago Bears in their first regular-season game Sept. 11 in Chicago.


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