The good news for the Niners in the wake of losing running back Jerick McKinnon for the season is that he will still be a team leader – albeit from the sidelines.
Two days removed from a season-ending knee injury that will prevent him from getting his first chance to enter a season as a starter, San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon’s biggest disappointment was that he won’t get to play against his former team on Sunday.
“I was more devastated when it happened, just the feeling knowing that it wouldn’t be all right for Week 1,” McKinnon said Monday. “This game probably meant a lot [more] to me [than] maybe anybody else, just going against my former team and stuff like that. So, when it happened and I felt it, I would probably say that initial thought of like ‘Dang, I’m not going to have a week to get my knee right’ was probably the worst feeling.
“And then once they told me what the injury was, it just kind of confirmed it.”
McKinnon suffered a torn ACL in his right knee on the final snap of Saturday’s practice as the Niners began preparations for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. That game had long been circled on McKinnon’s calendar after he played four seasons for the Vikings before signing a four-year, $30 million with the Niners in March.