The San Francisco 49ers hoped this season wouldn't be nearly as snakebitten as the one prior -- one that saw them become arguably the most injury-ravaged team in the NFL. They're not exactly off to a great start in that department, because while they were able to escape a comeback attempt at the hands of the Detroit Lions in Week 1, they ended up losing cornerback Jason Verrett to a torn ACL and starting linebacker Dre Greenlaw in the process.
Greenlaw, whose pick six was key in helping the Niners jump out to a 38-10 lead over the Lions before San Fran held on for a 41-33 victory, was forced into surgery following the contest. The 24-year-old was moved to injured reserve, the team announced on Saturday, after suffering what's been described as a groin/core injury during the aforementioned interception and touchdown. He's set to miss upward of six to eight weeks with the injury, but it's how he might've gotten injured that makes things worse.
Greenlaw was mobbed in celebration after the pick six, and while it's unclear if he was injured before the celebration or during, he headed to the locker room afterward and didn't return to the game. The absence of Greenlaw is an obvious blow to the vaunted 49ers defense, but the team will look to Azeez Al-Shaair to try to fill the void. A former fifth-round pick of the 49ers in 2019, Greenlaw quickly became an impact player who has now logged 23 starts in his first 30 career games in the NFL, and he's delivered 184 combined tackles during that stretch.
Al-Shaair, an undrafted free agent the 49ers grabbed following the 2019 NFL Draft, will have to step in a big way to help contain quarterback Jalen Hurts -- with the 49ers set to battle the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Azeez racked up seven tackles in the win over Detroit, a sign of what he brings to the table while Greenlaw recovers.
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