The San Francisco 49ers have been having a tough time keeping running backs healthy in training camp this year, and one of the casualties was backup LaMichael James, who recently suffered a dislocated elbow for the third time in his career. Despite the injury and recovery time, however, head coach Jim Harbaugh expects him to be ready to go by the opener.
#49ers Harbaugh: LaMichael James will wear a brace on elbow, and team expects him to be ready for start of regular season.
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) July 30, 2014
James’ injury is in addition to fellow backup Kendall Hunter, who is also out. For the time being, rookie Carlos Hyde has stepped up and taken the reins of the no. 2 running back slot, with Frank Gore, of course, leading the charge out of the backfield.
But James returning healthy is crucial for this team going forward, not so much from the backfield, but from a special teams standpoint.
The 49ers have such a wealth of talent for the backfield that he more than likely won’t be used that much from the running back position, but he’ll continue to make his mark returning kicks for the NFC Championship contenders this year.