A couple of hours after he suffered an ankle injury in Week 1, 49ers rookie linebacker Reuben Foster promised he’d be back the next week.
Foster was much more circumspect after leaving Sunday’s 40-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in he second half with a rib injury.
“I really don’t know,” he said when asked if he’d play next Sunday in Philadelphia. “I’ve got to ... just see what he doctors say about it. If they clear me, they clear me. If they don’t, they don’t.”
Foster suffered the injury in the third quarter, re-entered the game but then had to be helped off for a second time. He was taken into the locker room, presumably for an X-ray. Coach Kyle Shanahan said Foster was cleared to return to the game in the final minutes but coaches felt it was more prudent to hold the first-round draft pick out at that point.
Foster played only 11 snaps in the opener before suffering a high ankle sprain that forced him out of the next five games. He not only returned to action Sunday, he started the game at the ‘Mike’ linebacker position that former 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman once played. Like Bowman used to, Foster handled the play calls for the defense.
San Francisco gave up a season-high 501 yards in the loss, including 265 on the ground.
Foster called it a “butt-whooping.”
“My feelings are hurt,” he said when asked how he felt. “We lost. But we’ve just got to own up to it and be a man about it and just correct everything, come back … and correct everything we messed up on.”
Three other starters also were injured. Right tackle Trent Brown suffered a concussion and was replaced by Garry Gilliam. Right guard Brandon Fusco left with a biceps injury; Zane Beadles entered in his place. Nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams suffered a quadriceps contusion, forcing Jimmie Ward to move to that spot from free safety.
Reid at linebacker – Eric Reid was in the starting lineup for the first time since suffering a knee injury in Week 2, but he was playing inside linebacker, not strong safety like he was at the start of the season. He and Ray-Ray Armstrong essentially split snaps at weak-side linebacker Sunday.
Jaquiski Tartt, who replaced Reid earlier in the year, appears to have hung onto the safety spot. Reid previously said he expected to get his old job back when he was healthy.
“They told me it was the best move for the team,” he said. “So I’m just embracing my new role and trying my hardest to make an impact.”
Et cetera – Rookie tight end Cole Hikutini (Pleasant Grove High School) caught his first NFL pass, for five yards, in the fourth quarter.
▪ The 49ers broke up only two passes during the game. Both were by defensive tackle DeForest Buckner on the game’s opening drive.
▪ The two players the 49ers signed at midweek, defensive linemen Tony McDaniel and Leger Douzable, both played extensively in the game.