The 49ers depth at tight end behind George Kittle has taken a hit. According to the team, Jordan Matthews has been placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL, casting doubt on his return this season.
Bay Area News Group’s Cam Inman reported that Matthews hurt himself on a non-contact play while running a route in Monday’s practice. He was spotted on crutches leaving the facility Wednesday by NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan.
The 30-year-old was in his second season of trying to make a late-career transition to tight end from wide receiver, as he appeared in just four games with the 49ers from 2019 to 2021.
For now, there is a competition behind Kittle, as Charlie Woerner is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list while rehabbing from core-muscle surgery. Other tight ends on the roster include Ross Dwelley, who appeared in all 17 games last year and contributed heavily on special teams, Troy Fumagalli, Tanner Hudson and Tyler Kroft.
Matthews has also dealt with knee, ankle, thumb and hamstring injuries throughout his career, which has been beset by injuries since he played in 32 games his first two seasons. Those two seasons in 2014 and 2015 were his best, as he racked up a combined 1,869 yards and 16 touchdowns with the Philadelphia Eagles. Since then, his career production has been in a steady decline, as he also spent the 2017 season with the Buffalo Bills, before returning to Philadelphia after getting cut by the New England Patriots.
This marks the third notable injury for the 49ers in camp, as defensive tackle Arik Armstead is expected to be out a "few weeks" with a knee injury and defensive tackle Mo Hurst tore a biceps, which is expected to keep him out this season.