LEWISBURG, W.Va. — Raheem Mostert won’t be returning this 49ers season, after all. There’s no assurance he’ll be back with them next year, either.
Mostert tweeted on Tuesday that his upcoming knee surgery will be of the season-ending variety to repair torn cartilage. He got injured four plays (and two runs) into Sunday’s opening win over the Detroit Lions.
With his contract expiring after this season, Mostert decided a more extensive surgery will enhance his chances of coming back stronger next year, wherever that may be. Coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday the 49ers hoped Mostert could return in two months.
“Faithful, after consulting with multiple doctors and weighing my options, I will have season-ending surgery to repair my knee,” Mostert tweeted just before 3 p.m. ET, as the 49ers bunker in at The Greenbrier Resort for this week’s practices ahead of Sunday’s game at Philadelphia.
“This gives me, without a doubt in my mind, the best possibility at coming back 110%. I have ALWAYS come back stronger and will this time too! I have faith in myself, my doctors, my support system, my team and God. He makes no mistakes!!
“I’m gutted. This sucks! This is obviously not what I worked so hard for. I wish more than anything I could be out there on the field with my brothers!!!
“Thank you for your support in our decision. I’M FAR FROM DONE! – Mosterati”
Rookie Elijah Mitchell ran for 104 yards upon Mostert’s exit, and he is in line to start against the Eagles. Other backfield options are second-year back JaMychal Hasty and rookie Trey Sermon, the latter having been a healthy scratch Sunday.
Kerryon Johnson, formerly of the Lions, will join the 49ers’ practice squad, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN.
The 49ers could activate Jeff Wilson Jr., last year’s leading rusher, off the physically-unable-to-perfom list as early as after the next five weeks (four games) if his surgically repaired knee is ready.
Mostert, 29, transformed his career with the 49ers, getting cut from six teams most of his first two seasons before landing on their practice squad in November 2016.
After establishing himself as a special-teams ace, Mostert’s elite speed eventually made him a historic weapon in the 49ers’ backfield and Shanahan’s outside-zone scheme.
A fractured arm in 2018 slowed that transition but he became so dominant in 2019, he ran for a franchise record 220 yards and four touchdowns in the 49ers’ NFC Championship win over the Green Bay Packers.
Knee and ankle injuries limited him to eight games last season, when he still compiled 521 yards.
Mostert isn’t the only 49ers’ starter to exit with a season-ending knee injury. Cornerback Jason Verrett tore an anterior cruciate ligament in the fourth quarter Sunday, and he is a pending free agent, too, with a franchise beset by injuries in recent seasons.