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Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Kyle Shanahan explains how Brandon Aiyuk’s preparation will help him overcome missing the rest of training camp

Aug 25, 2020 at 3:35 PM--

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan recently expressed how important it is for rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk to get as much work as possible during training camp. The first-round pick won't be able to do that now, as he is expected to miss the remainder of training camp with a mild hamstring strain.

"We're expecting him to play a lot this year, just like we were expecting Deebo and Jalen last year," Shanahan said last week. "When it's that way, you've got a lot of pressure on you, so you can't miss a day, or you get behind, and he's doing that both mentally and physically."

Aiyuk is week-to-week, and the 49ers are fortunate that the injury wasn't worse. That, of course, means the rookie won't get the valuable reps for which Shanahan was hoping.

"Yeah, you get frustrated a little bit when it happens, but it's just happened too much to me that, over your career as a coach, that it's just part of the game," Shanahan told reporters via Zoom on Tuesday. "You can't sit there and dwell on it. You try to look at, was anything done wrong or anything like that? Not at all.

"Aiyuk's been in great shape. He's working his tail off out there, and sometimes that stuff just happens while you're going through a training camp. That has been the challenge, just this training camp not being quite as long."

Injuries have impacted the 49ers receivers group. Both Deebo Samuel (foot) and Richie James Jr. (hand) suffered injuries in June.

Shanahan remains hopeful that Samuel will be ready for Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals, but James' injury will likely force him to miss games. Jalen Hurd suffered a torn ACL during training camp, ending his season.

Now, you have Aiyuk's injury.

"So, it doesn't leave much room for error with that type of stuff, but it happened to Bosa last year," Shanahan continued. "When you've got guys who come in prepared, that gives them a chance when they don't get all these reps. If Aiyuk didn't come in the way that he did come in, he'd be screwed now with an injury. That's what's been cool about him that he's given himself a chance to overcome something like this.

"I think we got pretty good news with it because we thought at first it was a bad pull and it ended up just being a mild one. So, hopefully, it's only one, two weeks."

San Francisco made Aiyuk the No. 25 overall pick in April's draft. He recorded 98 receptions for 1,666 yards with 11 touchdowns in two seasons with the Sun Devils after transferring from Sierra College.

Shanahan says Aiyuk has to remain focused as he rehabs the injury.

"He's going to stay into it mentally and stuff," Shanahan said, "but no matter how mentally you stay into it, when you hear in the huddle, and you go out there full speed, it's a little bit harder. Hopefully, he'll get some time, probably about 10 days, hopefully, before we get back to Arizona, and we'll be able to catch him up then."

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