David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Confident 49ers RB Jeff Wilson Jr. could start vs. Jaguars, discusses return from ‘freak accident’

Nov 19, 2021 at 2:08 PM--

Jeff Wilson Jr. looks on track to start his first game since last season. Now a veteran in the running back room, Wilson is ready for whatever the San Francisco 49ers demand of him against the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend.

"Whatever they ask [of] me," Wilson said after Friday's practice. "That's been the thing since Day 1. So whatever you're called upon, that's what you're called upon to do. So, if that was the case, that's what I'll do. If it was for me to get only a couple of carries, be a blocker, then that's what I'll do. Whatever the task is, that's what I'll do."

The 49ers figured on Wilson being a key contributor in the team's rushing attack this season. However, the running back underwent surgery in May to repair a torn meniscus. The injury didn't occur on the practice field, though. Instead, it was a strange non-contact injury that happened elsewhere at the facility.

"Jeff got hurt sitting down in a chair in the locker room," head coach Kyle Shanahan said in June. "And he got out of it, and his knee got in an awkward position. Obviously, it was a freak unfortunate accident."

Wilson started the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list. He was activated on November 6 and had 10 carries during Monday night's win against the Los Angeles Rams.

"[The injury] was just a freak accident," Wilson said. "It's just something that happened that I can't really too much explain to you. I just felt a pop and just had to go through a surgery and the rehab process. That's pretty much what it was."

Wilson added, "It's one of those things that was a big question mark. It's just weird how it happened and how they explained it to me. It was just all weird, but thankful to God we got through it, and I'm feeling much better now."

Shanahan is happy to have the veteran running back available. The team's starter, Elijah Mitchell, sustained a finger fracture during the second quarter of Monday night's game. The severity of the injury wasn't learned until after the game. The rookie running back underwent a procedure on Tuesday to repair the damage. Mitchell is listed as "doubtful" for Sunday.

Wilson's return and his energy have given the 49ers offense a much-needed boost.

"The first time Jeff came out there, he looked exactly like the guy he's been," Shanahan shared. "Jeff plays with so much energy. The way you guys see him in games is exactly how he is in practice. So, our team feeds off him a ton, and the more practice he's gone, the more he's got his legs under him, and he's ready to go."

The now-healthy Wilson gained some valuable snaps on Monday night and feels ready to carry the load in Mitchell's place, if needed. After all, Wilson was the 49ers' leading rusher last season, racking up 600 rushing yards through 12 game appearances and three starts.

"I feel good, just getting out there every day in practice, and just feeling yourself going through the game, being able to get some action [on Monday]," Wilson added. "So, it was just a confidence builder. I've got a lot of confidence in myself, so I feel really good."

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