Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

D.J. Jones on 49ers rookie Javon Kinlaw: ‘He’s a grown-ass man’; discusses health, loss of DeForest Buckner

May 21, 2020 at 3:12 PM--

San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman D.J. Jones said in April that he's been healthy since mid-February. He reminded reporters of that during a video conference call on Thursday.

"Physically, I'm doing great," Jones said when asked again. "Getting my body in shape. My ankle is 100 percent. I'm able to run and cut."

Jones suffered a high-ankle sprain during the 49ers' Week 14 win over the New Orleans Saints and landed on injured reserve on December 14, after playing some very good football.

"It was very disappointing for me," Jones admitted. "I felt like I was on the rise. I felt like there was a lot more out there for me. I felt like I could have helped my team along the way. But at the same time, God makes no mistakes, and there's nothing I can do about the past except for work hard for the future."

Jones being healthy is good news for San Francisco's defensive line, which added Javon Kinlaw via the draft in April.

"I'm just excited to play with a South Carolina guy, to be honest (Jones went to high school in South Carolina)," Jones said of Kinlaw. "He's an animal. ... I think he'll add versatility to the D-line. I don't feel like anybody is just one-dimensional on our D-line, and he's adding on to that puzzle. Eventually, it's all going to show."

Jones later added: "Excuse my language, he's a grown-ass man. He's bulky. He's strong as all get-out, which you can see on film. He's driving linemen toward the quarterback, which I love to see, which I know (D-line coach) Kris Kocurek loves to see.

"He looks like he has heavy hands, and I think that's one aspect to our D-line that we all have—heavy hands. He'll add to the group."

Kinlaw will replace defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in March. Defensive tackle Sheldon Day signed with the Colts as a free agent, just eight days after Buckner was sent to Indianapolis.

Jones, on Thursday, was reminded about the losses of Buckner and Day.

"I just shed a tear when you said that," he responded. "Those are two guys that were leaders in our room. Sheldon was the smartest guy that I had the opportunity to play with, the pleasure to play with ... Buck was just an all-around leader as far as showing by example. He was always on time. Buck was the guy. If you wanted to know how to do something right, watch Buck.

"Just losing those two guys is tough, but we have enough leaders in the room like Arik (Armstead)—even a young (Nick) Bosa, Dee Ford—guys that can step up and fill that role."

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