Until recently, San Francisco 49ers running back Kendall Hunter has been sidelined a torn Achilles tendon. Now the backup is healthy and ready to resume his role as the second fiddle to All-Pro runner Frank Gore. Prior to tearing his Achilles tendon in his left foot, Hunter had a rushing average of 5.2 yards per carry. Since his rookie season in 2011, Hunter has rushed for 844 yards.
At the moment, his spot as the second-string running back is secure, especially with second-year player LaMichael James is assuming some special teams duties as a return man. With Gore at 30 years of age and the Niners still relying on the run game, expect Hunter to get more carries this season than his first two seasons.
Hunter’s importance to the team cannot be put into words. If Gore were to miss games for whatever reason, the 49ers’ offense would lose its leader and well over 1,200 yards of rushing plus over 200 receiving yards of offense. Hunter would have to maintain his 5.2 yards per carry or more, and James would have to pitch on the ground and in the air. However, the majority of the hypothetical workload would go to Hunter, not James.
Hunter has been activated for now, but the team should keep an eye on him just to make sure there are no setbacks. Torn Achilles tendons have been known to end many athletes’ careers, so Hunter’s return should be a positive sign to 49er fans because they are still waiting on wide receiver Michael Crabtree to return from his torn Achilles.