The 49ers defense has suffered a rash of ankle injuries in training camp with defensive end Aaron Lynch the latest to go down.
Lynch, who had two sacks in Friday’s preseason opener for San Francisco, suffered the injury midway through Monday’s practice. He had to be helped to his feet and then walked gingerly off the field next to members of the training staff. He is out for Tuesday’s practice but the injury is not considered long term.
Starters Eric Reid and DeForest Buckner also have gone down with ankle injuries. Reid returned from his a few days later; Buckner hasn’t practiced this week after re-injuring his ankle Friday. Linebacker Reuben Foster has been dealing with a recurring left ankle sprain but has not missed any practices.
Foster started Friday’s game and was practicing with the first-string defense again on Monday. The 49ers maintain that Foster is competing with Ray-Ray Armstrong for the starting weak-side linebacker spot, but Foster, a first-round pick, has been getting the bulk of the first-team snaps. That’s partly because he missed the spring practices and needs the snaps.
“They’re both doing a really good job with what we’re asking them to do,” defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “Reuben’s obviously made a couple more plays. Ray has made some plays, but Ray, he’s not out of it by any means. We’re still far from putting a stamp on any evaluation on anyone on the defense.”
When Lynch left practice Monday, rookie Pita Taumoepenu moved up from the third string to the second string. Arik Armstead and Elvis Dumervil also play the “Leo” spot that Lynch mans. Eli Harold can play it as well.