SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- While most things were going exceedingly well for the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter of their preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings, there was a developing injury situation that might have been clouded by the offense's early success.
Left tackle Joe Staley departed the game after just six snaps with an apparent knee injury and did not return. Although Staley continued to walk around without any apparent issues and without any attention from medical personnel, it was still unclear whether his injury was serious.
“You can see it a little bit on the tape," coach Kyle Shanahan said. "I think it was on the touchdown pass. I think he was just running real hard and cleared out the pocket for us to throw that deep ball to Marquise [Goodwin]. You could tell he just caught it a little bit on the turf.
"I think it scared him more than anything and I know he's got some stuff in there. I know he wanted to fight through it and I'm sure he could have, but he landed a little awkwardly on it. You could see it if you saw it on the end zone copy. We just wanted to be safe with him and we'll take it safe with him this whole week up to Carolina, make sure he's 100 percent when we start that game.”
After the game, Shanahan said he didn't believe Staley's issue was anything long-term but the team would take a closer look after the team got back to the Bay Area.
That closer look took place on Monday morning and Shanahan had good news to report on the team's longest-tenured player.
"Yeah, it was like we thought, [it] came back good," Shanahan said. "He's obviously got some tendonitis and things like that in his knee, some wear and tear. But we feel good about it and we think he'll be good by Week 1."
The 49ers have been sure to manage Staley throughout camp, granting him the occasional veteran's day off to make sure he gets a little extra rest when he can. It's also a safe bet that Staley won't appear in the preseason finale Thursday night against the Los Angeles Chargers.
John Theus replaced Staley and played a whopping 50 snaps, the most of any offensive player against Minnesota. Theus is likely in a battle for a swing tackle spot with Garry Gilliam, whom the Niners signed in the offseason and has worked mostly on the right side during the preseason.
"He battled," Shanahan said. "He's going up against a pretty good player in [Vikings defensive end Everson] Griffen. He wasn't great on all his protections, but he stayed in front of him and we were able to get rid of the ball. Did we take one sack? Yeah, I think Brian [Hoyer] only got knocked down once. The protection was not perfect, but I thought he battled in there and helped us get through it."