The San Francisco 49ers’ training camp is beginning to enter full steam. The first practice is scheduled for July 24, with the pads coming on two days later, in preparation for the first preseason game on August 7—a Super Bowl XLVII rematch against the Baltimore Ravens.
Not every player on the roster is ready to go, however. The 49ers listed nine players on the non-football injury and physically unable to perform lists—primarily rookies, but also including Marcus Lattimore and Ian Williams.
The important thing to keep in mind about the lists is that once the 49ers activate a player, it starts a series of clocks. The 49ers thus will probably be very conservative about keeping players on these injured lists until they’re 100 percent sure they’re fully healthy.
A player will remain on the PUP or NFI list until he’s cleared to practice. Once he practices in training camp, that’s it—he can’t go on the regular-season version of either list and would have to make the 53-man roster, be placed on injured reserve or be outright released from the team. That’s why you’ll see players ready to go still on the PUP list—to preserve the team’s rights to the players.
If the players roll to the PUP list during the regular season, they can’t practice for six weeks. Then, the 49ers have six weeks to decide if they want to put the players on injured reserve, release them or get them back to practice. Once they start practicing, they will eventually have to either be added to the 53-man roster or placed on injured reserve—there’s a three-week window for that decision.
Essentially, a player can stay on the PUP list through Week 15 without counting against the 49ers’ roster limits but still with the potential to play in 2014.
With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at all nine players the 49ers have put on the various lists, take a look at how their recoveries are doing and see when they might suit up for the team.
Williams broke his leg against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 last season and has had four leg surgeries since then, with the most recent coming in February. He’s legitimately not ready to practice at this point.
This is disappointing news, because the injury happened so long ago. Williams told reporters during OTAs that his leg “feels good, just a little weak,” but that “it’s feeling better every day, every week.”
His goal was to make it back for training camp, but that didn’t happen. My guess is that the 49ers started Williams on the PUP list so they could evaluate his leg a little longer, because it gives them the option to put him on the PUP for the regular season if he’s going to have any setbacks.
My guess is that he’ll be activated sometime after the first couple of preseason games and be ready for the regular season, barring a setback.
Lattimore suffered a horrific knee injury against Tennessee in October 2012, dislocating his right knee and tearing three ligaments. He missed all of last year with the injury and still isn’t at 100 percent.
Lattimore missed some of OTAs and minicamp “working through something”—according to Jim Harbaugh—but did participate. He was quicker and faster than he was during the three-week window he practiced in 2012 as well. The NFI designation for Lattimore is almost surely a precaution, and he should be activated to the active roster within three weeks or so.
Martin dislocated his kneecap against UCLA in November. This ended his junior season and limited him to just performing in the bench press at the combine.
According to Niners Nation, Martin was actively involved in 11-on-11 drills during minicamp, albeit non-contact ones. This leads me to believe the 49ers are just triple-checking to make sure Martin’s knee will stand up to contact before OK’ing him to return to practice. He should be fine shortly.
Thomas is done for the year. The 49ers picked him up at a discount in the third round due to the injury, knowing that he won’t contribute until 2015 at the earliest.
Ellington’s injury is mysterious and undisclosed. Matt Barrows reports that it’s not considered serious, but what specifically is injured is unknown.
Very hard to judge Ellington’s recovery without knowing what’s injured. He didn’t show any signs of any issues during minicamp or OTAs, so unless he hurt himself between then and now, he should be fine shortly.
Lynch hurt his hamstring during OTAs on June 10. While it isn’t thought to be serious, he did sit out the remaining two days of OTAs.
It’s not a tear or anything, so it’s odd that Lynch isn’t considered ready to go already. I wonder if the 49ers are planning on placing Lynch on the PUP list to save a roster spot; he’s a bubble player this season anyway and is likely behind Corey Lemonier and Dan Skuta for snaps on the outside.
Reaser is done for the year. The 49ers drafted him in the fifth round knowing about the injury, so his failed physical is unsurprising. He won’t contribute until 2015 at the earliest.
Ramsey suffered a multitude of injuries in college, including sitting out the combine with a right calf injury. Whatever specific injury caused this listing is undisclosed, but it’s worth noting he’s on the PUP list as opposed to the NFI list, so it must have happened at minicamp or training camp.
Again, it’s hard to say until we know for sure what the injury is, but Ramsey seems like an obvious choice for the PUP during the regular season—he’s almost assuredly not going to crack the defensive line rotation as a rookie. Find an injury, no matter how minor, and have him study throughout the regular season seems to be the plan.
Millard tore his ACL in October against Texas Tech. He may have also torn another ligament in his knee, though reports are more conflicted on that.
Millard is done for the year. Because the tear happened so early last year, there would have been a chance he could have recovered in time to contribute toward the middle or end of 2014, but he’s a seventh-round backup fullback and thus likely not worth a roster slot unless an emergency situation develops. The 49ers will redshirt him and check him out next season.
Bryan Knowles is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report covering the San Francisco 49ers. Follow him @BryKno on Twitter.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!