49ers injuries pile up: C Weston Richburg done for season, Dee Ford, Richard Sherman to miss time

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The San Francisco 49ers suffered a big blow on Sunday when center Weston Richburg left in the third quarter of their win over the New Orleans Saints with a leg injury.

Test results on Monday confirmed bad news. Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that Richburg suffered a torn patella tendon and will miss the rest of the regular season and playoffs.

The 49ers are also looking at key defensive players missing time for the stretch run of the season.

Sherman, Ford to miss time

Defensive end Dee Ford aggravated a hamstring strain and cornerback Richard Sherman suffered a hamstring strain during Sunday’s game. Shanahan told reporters that Ford is expected to miss “at least” three weeks while Sherman could be out for “a couple weeks” with three games remaining in the regular season.

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It’s a rough injury report for the 49ers, who improved to 11-2 and took control of the top seed in the NFC playoffs with Sunday’s win over the Saints.

Weston Richburg is one of several key 49ers injured as the playoffs loom. (Chuck Cook/Reuters)
Weston Richburg is one of several key 49ers injured as the playoffs loom. (Chuck Cook/Reuters)

Richburg a key player on 49ers line

While it sounds like Sherman and Ford could be back for the playoffs — especially if the 49ers earn a first-round bye — losing Richburg is a setback for the league’s fourth-ranked offense and second-ranked running game.

But a bye is no guarantee with games against the Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Rams and a key Week 17 clash with the Seattle Seahawks that could determine the NFC West champion remaining.

Richburg, meanwhile, will need surgery and rehab before he returns.

A six-year NFL veteran, Richburg has anchored San Francisco’s interior line for two seasons.

“Losing Weston is big,” left tackle Joe Staley said on Sunday. “He’s the center position and one of the captains for our group. You don’t want to see anyone go down.”

Ben Garland finished Sunday’s game in place of Richburg and is expected to take over at center in his place.

Garland took first-team reps during training camp as Richburg recovered from offseason surgery. He drew positive reviews from his teammates on Sunday, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

“We didn’t really hesitate or anything, Garoppolo told reporters. “Guys on the sideline were locked in. Ben was ready to roll, and it was next man up.”

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