All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga sustained a season-ending torn ACL in his right knee. Head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed the injury with reporters on Monday. There is no other structural damage to Hufanga's knee.
Hufanga injured the knee while planting his right leg in pass coverage.
Take a look at Talanoa Hufanga’s right knee 🙏pic.twitter.com/WclcbAwxHL
— Coach Yac 🗣 (@Coach_Yac) November 19, 2023
The injury is a significant blow to a strong San Francisco defense.
Hufanga, 23, earned a full-time starting job with the 49ers last year in his second NFL season. He started all 17 games, tallying four interceptions, two forced fumbles, nine passes defended, two sacks and 66 tackles. He earned Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors for his efforts. A versatile defender who makes plays all over the field, he will not be easily replaced in San Francisco's secondary.
Rookie backup Ji'Ayir Brown took Hufanga's place and made an immediate impact. He intercepted Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield then broke up a fourth-down pass in the end zone to help seal the win in the fourth quarter.
That effort earned praise from head coach Kyle Shanahan.
"I thought he did a hell of a job," Shanahan said. "To lose a player like Huf in a game and for him to come in and step it up big and make two huge plays."