Earlier this week, both backup punt returner Kyle Williams and backup running back Kendall Hunter both suffered season-ending injuries for the San Francisco 49ers and were placed on the injured reserve. This makes room for former Ducks star, LaMichael James, to get off the scouting team and become active for the first time this season.
Williams has a torn ligament in his left knee and Hunter has an ankle injury, both serious enough to end their season in consecutive days on Monday and Tuesday. Running back Jewel Hampton was activated off the non-football injury list. Brandon Jacobs will likely be the backup running back.
The question is where does LMJ fit? For now, it has to be on special teams which puts him at a disadvantage.
Right now James is the backup to Ted Ginn Jr. on the depth chart for punt and kickoff returns now that Williams is out. With him on the scouting team and Anthony Dixon being activated each week as the go-to fullback, LMJ has yet to be active for a regular season game.
One thing that will help benefit the 49ers on activating James is that he’s familiar with the offense alongside new starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick. From Matt Maiocco, 49ers beat writer for CSN Bay Area:
After all, Kaepernick and James ran (zone-read plays) very effectively during the exhibition season. However, Kaepernick and James have not practiced the play since the end of training camp.
It’s not like they had much time to practice. For those not familiar with a scout team, they study more on San Francisco’s opponents and help either the offense or defense to get ready for them.
If ready, LMJ could join A.J. Jenkins, the first-round pick at wide receiver, in a debut this Sunday against the Rams. Jenkins was active in week one but did not play. So far head coach Jim Harbaugh, like usual, has things tight-lipped about their status. But both players are ready to contribute.
The 49ers will be in St. Louis this Sunday with kickoff at 10:00 a.m. PT.
Brian Spaen is the lead editor for Autzen Zoo. See his banter with other FanSided writers and love for his favorite west coast professional teams by following him on Twitter.