49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

July 22, 2012
Two draft picks sidelined for beginning of training camp


**UPDATE** The 49ers ended up placing Fleming on PUP and Looney on the non-football injury list. Looney's injury occurred in January, before he was drafted by the 49ers. Undrafted rookie running back Jewel Hampton also was placed on this list.

Draft picks Joe Looney and Darius Fleming are expected to begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list, according to a league source. Looney, a fourth-round pick, suffered a foot injury during Senior Bowl week in January while Fleming, a fifth rounder, tore his ACL on the first day of a rookie minicamp in May.

Placing them on PUP does not save roster spots during training camp and the preseason. However, it would allow the 49ers to keep the players on PUP when the season begins, a move which would open roster spots.

That probably will not be the case with guard Looney, who is nearing the end of his rehabilitation from a Lisfranc injury. He could return in about two weeks. Outside linebacker Fleming, meanwhile, could be placed on injured reserve at some point, which would end his season and also create a roster spot.

It's unknown how the 49ers will proceed with another injured draft pick, outside linebacker Cam Johnson, who had a minor procedure -- believed to be on his knee --in June. His agent said last week that Johnson should be ready for the start of training camp. Rookies reported over the weekend and will practice this week. The full squad assembles Thursday and will have its first practice Friday.

The 49ers have plenty of depth at guard this year. The starting group includes Mike Iupati at left guard and Alex Boone at right. If the regular season began today, Daniel Kilgore and Mike Person also likely would be active on game days. Kilgore can play center and guard. Person can play guard and tackle. Derek Hall, a 2011 rookie who spent last season on the practice squad, also can play tackle and guard.

Outside linebacker is more pressing but only slightly so. Johnson and Fleming were behind starters Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith as well as 2011 starter Parys Haralson. Eric Bakhtiari and undrafted rookie Kourtnei Brown also figure into the mix. 

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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