SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers may have lost Talanoa Hufanga for the season.
Hufanga injured his knee in the third quarter of the 49ers' 27-14 win over the Buccaneers on Sunday. He went to make a tackle in the flat, his knee buckled and he crumpled to the ground. Then he went inside the blue medical tent, got checked out and finally got carted off the field.
“Real concerned," head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game. "We don't know for sure, most likely it's ACL but can't confirm it so we'll find out later.”
Shanahan will have a conference call with Bay Area reporters at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, so the extent of the injury could become official then, although it's likely he won't have the results of Hufanga's MRI until later in the afternoon.
Hufanga had 3 interceptions in 10 games, but he has only 52 tackles and zero sacks despite blitzing frequently. He wasn't playing up to the All Pro standard he set last season. Perhaps he needed defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and doesn't fit Steve Wilks' defense as well.
After Hufanga went down, the next man up on Sunday was rookie Ji'Ayir Brown, who intercepted a pass in the end zone and broke up a pass in the end zone as well. He immediately made an impact in the fourth quarter of a game that was still alive.
Remember, the 49ers traded up for Brown in Round 3 of this year's draft. He's a premium athlete. The 49ers should be in good hands with him at strong safety.