San Francisco 49ers WR Bruce Ellington was hurt on a punt return in the second quarter of the team's preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. He had started running off the field but then went down to his knee and was slow to get off the field. Ellington remained on the 49ers bench being examined by team doctors with teammates clearly concerned.
Today, the 49ers announced that Ellington (hamstring) will miss the entire 2016 season and be placed on injured reserve.
While the injury looked concerning, there was hope that it would not be season ending. Ellington, who has had problems staying healthy during his career, appeared frustrated on the sideline following the injury.
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Ellington was drafted out of South Carolina by the 49ers in the fourth round of the 2014 season. Used primarily as a returner on special teams, where he has 1,604 return yards, he only has 19 receptions for 215 yards and two touchdowns receiving throughout his two seasons in the league. However, he was expected to take on a more prominent role this season as a leading candidate to be the team's primary slot receiver.
There was some speculation that the injury might be more serious than originally indicated when the 49ers traded OG Brandon Thomas to the Detroit Lions for WR Jeremy Kerley on Sunday.
"I think the first thing with Bruce, and it relates to he's got his background as a basketball player," said head coach Chip Kelly earlier this month. "So, he understands spacing, he understands how to attack a zone, he understands where the soft parts of a zone are. There's a correlation between guys who played basketball or have a basketball background and then kind of understanding how to operate in there. So, I think he's got a real good feel for working in the slot."