After news that rookie Curtis Holcomb would likely be out for the entire 2011 season, the 49ers have a couple more injuries to add to that list. Second-year tight end Nate Byham suffered a leg injury on Saturday and was carted off the field. Byham went for a pass near the sideline and came down awkwardly on his leg, staying there in pain for some time before being carted away. According to Matt Maiocco, Byham showed obvious frustration and spoke briefly with Scott McKillop, who is coming off an injury that ended his 2010 season with the team.
Byham's injury is significant because the 49ers figure to be employing a power running offense with an emphasis on a vertical passing game to tight ends. He was going to be in as a blocking specialist, where he would have been used frequently, though he did show flashes of good hands as a rookie. He was hoping to show the team what he can do in that regard, but now we'll have to wait and see how significant this injury is.
Undrafted rookie Dontavia Bogan also seems to be injured. Sam Lam tweeted this:
WR Dontavia Bogan looks to have injured his right leg, was carted off the field. TE Nate Byham is sitting during practice with crutches.
Bogan was battling for a spot on the roster with guys like Kyle Williams, Dominique Zeigler, Ronald Johnson and others, but now it appears he's not going to have that chance. If he was carted off the field, the chances of him returning to impress in the preseason are very slim, and that's a shame. Bogan had a lot of potential to make the practice squad and stick with the WR-light team for a few years, potentially earning a roster spot along the way. Now everything is up in the air.
In other news, guard Chilo Rachal was back in the lineup at practice, in the right guard spot. Rachal had figured to be battling with Adam Snyder for the position before free agent David Baas signed with the New York Giants. Now it appears that Snyder is among the front-runners for the starting center job, while Rachal will be competing with rookies like Daniel Kilgore and the recently-signed Tony Wragge.