Mario Manningham’s season is over, and in all likelihood, so is his stay in San Francisco.
The 49ers placed the wide receiver on injured reserve Friday after he missed Monday’s game with a knee injury. Manningham will become an unrestricted free agent in March and he is not expected to be re-signed.
Manningham is a year removed from tearing the ACL and PCL ligaments in his left knee. He returned in Week 10 and caught three passes for 30 yards. Since then he has been listed on the 49ers’ injury report with knee issues, though he continued to play until Monday’s game.
Asked Friday if Manningham had re-injured the surgically repaired knee or otherwise suffered a setback, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh begged off the topic.
“For me to talk about it – I’m not a doctor,” he said. “To tell you what level – last year, this year, if it was something different – I mean, the doctors and Mario are the people to talk to about that.”
Earlier, Harbaugh said Manningham was consulting with the team doctors. “We’ll do what’s in the best interest of his career. He’s got input on that,” Harbaugh said.
Manningham missed two practices last week and Monday’s game against the Falcons, and he also sat out Thursday’s practice, the first of the week for the 49ers. He warmed up with the team, then trotted over to a side field to work with strength and conditioning coaches while the rest of the team practiced.
Rookie receiver Quinton Patton took Manningham’s spot in the lineup Monday and likely will be the team’s No. 3 receiver throughout the playoffs.
The 49ers also could elevate a player from the practice squad – perhaps one of two receivers, Chuck Jacobs or Devon Wylie – to take Manningham’s spot on the active roster. Because anyone who is added to the 53-man roster now would be inactive Sunday against the Cardinals, the 49ers are unlikely to make any roster moves until next week.
The team’s No. 3 receiver shouldn’t expect to see a lot of passes thrown his way.
Manningham’s targets, for example, fell when Michael Crabtree returned to the lineup Dec. 1. He had one catch for 2 yards in his last three games. No passes were thrown Patton’s way when he filled in for Manningham on Monday.
Asked what he needed to do to establish the trust quarterback Colin Kaepernick has in Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, Patton laughed and said, “Just be where you’re supposed to be, catch the ball and you’ll get the trust. That’s it.”
The 49ers signed Manningham to a two-year deal in March 2012, one month after he had a pivotal, 38-yard catch along the sideline in Super Bowl XLVI. He has played in 18 games with the 49ers, including 13 starts, and has 51 receptions for 534 yards and one touchdown.