The 49ers on Saturday placed running back Jerick McKinnon on season-ending injured reserve, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area.
It is the second consecutive season McKinnon is lost for the season before it even began.
McKinnon sustained a torn ACL in his right knee a week before last year’s season opener. He experienced two setbacks when he attempted to return to practice this summer. He underwent a platelet-rich plasma treatment earlier this month. Then, upon returning to practice this week, he sustained a setback.
The 49ers envisioned McKinnon as being a central figure in the team’s offense last year when they signed him to a four-year, $30 million on the first day of free agency. Coach Kyle Shanahan was prepared to revamp the offense to take advantage of McKinnon’s unique ability as a pass-catcher out of the backfield.
McKinnon’s entire $3.7 million salary for this season became fully guaranteed on April 1. He made $12.5 million in his first season with the 49ers, including an $8 million signing bonus.
But McKinnon’s future with the 49ers is in serious doubt. He is scheduled to make $6.5 million next season -- a figure the 49ers appear unlikely to pay for a player who has not played since the 2017 season.
Even without McKinnon, the 49ers have reason to feel good about their running back situation, where Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert are expected to be among the team’s 46 active players for games.