San Francisco Chronicle
‘It’s crushing’: Injury to corner Verrett is likely season-ending
DETROIT — The 49ers are expecting to play the rest of the season without No. 1 cornerback Jason Verrett.
Verrett, 30, who returned from a series of lower leg injuries to recapture his Pro Bowl form last year, left Sunday’s 41-33 win over the Lions with a left knee injury in the fourth quarter. The 49ers fear Verrett tore his left ACL, the same injury he suffered in 2016 when he was with the Chargers. Verrett, who played in just six of 64 games from 2016-2019, also tore his Achilles in 2018.
“It’s crushing,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “… It’s crushing, the bad luck he’s had. I’ve got a lot of love for J.V. and respect him as much as anyone I’ve ever been around.”
Verrett headlined a thin position group that was without starter Emmanuel Moseley (knee) on Sunday. Rookie cornerback Deommodore Lenoir started in place of Moseley and the backups were rookie Ambry Thomas and Dontae Johnson, who was elevated from the practice squad Saturday. Even with Verrett, the 49ers tacitly acknowledged they needed to bolster their cornerback corps by signing Josh Norman, 33, on Monday. Norman was inactive Sunday.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s meeting against the Eagles, Shanahan said there was a chance Moseley could return after he failed to practice last week. He also acknowledged the 49ers would consider adding another veteran cornerback, which prompted a question about whether the 49ers would re-sign Richard Sherman.
“We’ve discussed it,” Shanahan said. “I’ve talked with Sherm about it, too. Sherm’s always a possibility.”
Sherman, 33, could face NFL discipline after he pleaded not guilty in July to five misdemeanor charges after he fled a single-car crash and allegedly tried to break into the house of his in-laws. Last month, his lawyer asked for a continuance at his pretrial hearing, which is set for Oct. 1.
Sherman, who had surgery on both Achilles before signing with the 49ers in 2018, was limited to five games last year because of an Achilles injury.
Sermon sits; Aiyuk limited: Rookie third-round pick Trey Sermon was a healthy scratch because he wasn’t viewed as one of the 49ers’ top three running backs, Shanahan said.
Sermon, the 49ers’ highestdrafted running back since 2015, was inactive while Raheem Mostert, rookie sixthround pick Elijah Mitchell and JaMycal Hasty, a 2020 undrafted free agent, were active.
The 49ers traded two fourthround picks to the Rams (Nos. 117, 121) for the No. 88 selection they used on Sermon, who rushed for 63 yards on 16 carries and a had a fumble in two preseason games. Shanahan was asked why Sermon sat after he appeared to be the No. 2 back behind Mostert this summer.
“We rotate backs throughout camp,” Shanahan said. “So nothing is ever firm, to tell you the truth.”
Meanwhile, wide receiver Trent Sherfield started ahead of Brandon Aiuyk, who did not have a catch or a target while splitting backup snaps with Mohamed Sanu. Shanahan noted Aiyuk returned last week from a hamstring injury, although the 2020 first-round pick wasn’t limited in any of the final three practices.
“Trent Sherfield’s earned the right to be out there,” said Shanahan, who later added: “Aiyuk (missed 10 days) with his hamstring and Sherfield was pushing him as it was. … I don’t know how many plays Aiyuk had, but I’m sure he had less than expected.”
Kittle’s bobble: The defense broke down during the Lions’ fourth-quarter rally, but the special teams also played a role: Tight end George Kittle couldn’t corral an onside kick that Detroit recovered.
“That was a hell of a kick,” Kittle said. The kicker “got three low bounces and it just popped up and hit me right in the face. … I’ve got to make those catches. Sometimes you get got. I can’t let it happen again. Very disappointing, though. Trash.”
Injury report: Mostert exited in the first quarter with a knee injury and did not return. He was scheduled to have an MRI exam Sunday night, but the team was confident he did not suffer a torn ACL . ... Linebacker Dre Greenlaw, who had a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter, later exited with a groin injury.