While the San Francisco 49ers lost their season opener to the Carolina Panthers, they dodged the potential for a long-term injury with one of their star players. In the first quarter of the 23-3 loss, rookie linebacker Reuben Foster went down after a run-in with Panthers lineman Matt Kalil, grabbed his lower right ankle, and was then carted to the locker room for X-rays after what looked to be a very serious injury.

Sometimes looks can be deceiving. Foster returned to the sideline near the beginning of the second quarter. While he did not return to the game, he was walking around under his own power – but with a noticeable limp. Still, the fact that he was able to return to the sidelines under his own power was a good sign for Foster, his teammates, and the 49ers.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke to the media following the game, which was his first as a head coach. He downplayed the severity of the injury and felt optimistic about Foster's condition.

Shanahan said that the 49ers plan to have more tests run on Foster but that the rookie linebacker could have returned to the game.

"Some type of ankle injury so we're going to have to look more into it," Shanahan said. "But it definitely was better than it seemed out there."

Shanahan was asked if they eliminated the possibility of a bone fracture.

"They thought at first, possibly tibia and stuff and they came out and told me at halftime that was a negative but he wasn't good enough to go back into the game," Shanahan answered.

Foster missed all of the 49ers' offseason program as he recovered from shoulder surgery following the 2016 college football season. However, he was able to fully participate in all of training camp and the preseason. Foster won a training camp competition with Ray-Ray Armstrong for the starting Will linebacker job. Armstrong replaced Foster in Sunday's game.