San Francisco 49ers running back LaMichael James will be miss 3-4 weeks with an injured MCL. The second-year player was slated to very active in on special teams prior to his injury. The team still has veteran Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter, who just came off of his own injury.
The 49ers are a run first team, and will continue to remain that way under third-year head coach Jim Harbaugh.
With NFL teams cutting their rosters down to 53, James’ injury solidifies a spot and playing time for wide receiver Kyle Williams, who has been more of a returner than a wide receiver. This injury does not hurt the Niners per se, but it does limit the flexibility of the roster as it pertains to rotating players on offense.
If the 49ers’ coaching staff had planned to use James more in the run game, that will obviously change now and at least for the first four weeks of the season, they would need to find a way to compensate for that lost yardage. The offense could continue to unwisely run quarterback Colin Kaepernick, or it could use short passes to make up for the production.
Then again, the 49ers are one of the few teams in the league that still use fullbacks. Plus, former 49er Michael Robinson has just hit the open market due to the 53-man roster cuts. Robinson can be very productive and can add to the ground-and-pound attitude of San Francisco’s offense.