SANTA CLARA — Fifteen minutes into Monday’s practice, Jerick McKinnon walked with crutches to a sideline, sat in a trainer’s cart and watched the 49ers move on without him.
Directly in his line of sight, no more than 25 yards in front of him, were his replacements, running backs Alfred Morris and Matt Breida. McKinnon stared as they took handoffs and caught passes and rehearsed the job he used to have.
“I think they will work really well together,” McKinnon said after practice at his locker while leaning on his crutches. “They’re two different backs and they both have a lot of upside. Coach Shanahan and the rest of the coaches, they do a great job of putting us in positions to be successful. That’s going to continue to happen.”
McKinnon smiled and seemed upbeat merely two days after suffering a season-ending ACL tear in his right knee. His replacements still seemed bothered by his injury.
“I almost teared up when it happened,” Breida said. “I knew something was up, because Jet gets up. He doesn’t just go down after something small.”
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