Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports



San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch was clearly concerned and upset from his box at Levi's Stadium. He just saw one of his prized first-round selections, linebacker Reuben Foster, go down and grab his lower right ankle during the 49ers' first quarter against the Carolina Panthers.

The injury came after a run-in with Panthers lineman Matt Kalil and Foster ended up being carted off of the field and taken to the locker room for X-rays. Ray-Ray Armstrong replaced Foster following the injury.

Foster had been dealing with a minor ankle injury during training camp. Near the start of the second quarter, the rookie linebacker returned to the sideline with a noticeable limp. He worked with the 49ers medical and training staff on the sideline with his leg wrapped in black tape but was listed as "Questionable" to return.

Foster was the second of two first-round selections by the 49ers in April's draft. The team used the third overall pick to select defensive lineman Solomon Thomas. Foster fell to the 49ers at number 30 overall after teams were concerned about the timeline for his recovery from shoulder surgery following the 2016 college football season.

Foster was limited during the 49ers' entire offseason program and then fully participated during training camp and the preseason, making the selection by the 49ers appear to be a brilliant decision. He went on to win a training camp competition with Armstrong to be the 49ers' starting Will linebacker.

As a senior at Alabama in 2016, Foster finished with 115 tackles, 13 for losses, and five sacks. He was awarded the Butkus Award, which is given to the nation's best linebacker. The 6-foot, 229-pound Foster had 211 tackles, 23 of which were for a loss, seven sacks, and nine passes defensed in three years with Alabama.