Jerick McKinnon suffers knee injury, out for 2018 season

53MAN-OFFQB

53MAN-OFFQB

Jerick McKinnon's 2018 season ended eight days before it should have begun after the 49ers' running back tore his right ACL during a Saturday morning practice.

McKinnon was expected to be the Niners' starting running back in the opener, a role he had been unable to grasp in his previous four seasons with Minnesota.

"He made a cut on air", Kyle Shanahan told reporters prior to the MRI.

He said the team immediately suspected that McKinnon, 26, had injured his ACL, which was confirmed by an MRI later in the day. "We made a tough decision but one we felt like we had to".

McKinnon dealt with a calf injury during the start of preseason and may have just suffered another significant injury. Something with the knee, so we'll find out later.

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The 49ers will turn to Matt Breida and recently acquired Alfred Morris, assuming he makes the 53-man roster, to shoulder the load at running back.

In other 49ers news, the team released two of its most prominent offseason free-agent additions in guard Jonathan Cooper and defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu.

Attaochu was slowed by injuries in training camp and wasn't able to show he could solidify that spot despite getting $2.5 million in guaranteed money when he signed his one-year deal this off-season. The 49ers expect to sign Taumoepenu to the 10-player practice squad on Sunday if he clears waivers. Still, the injury is a huge disappointment for a back that Minnesota took with a third-round draft pick back in 2014.

"As you go into the regular season, dependability in terms of knowing a guy is going to be out there is really important, and we just didn't have that feeling", Lynch said.

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