***UPDATE*** The 49ers have placed Hunter on injured reserve, ending his season.
Multiple sources say the ankle injury Kendall Hunter suffered Sunday is serious and that the 49ers are likely to shut down the team's second-leading rusher for the season. No move has been made at this point. If that happened, the team would have two openings on its 53-man roster. He and receiver Kyle WIlliams were hurt on the same third-quarter play Sunday; Williams has an ACL tear and is finished for the season.
Later today, the 49ers are likely to add former Eagles receiver Chad Hall to the practice squad. That might mean one of the current practice squad players is being elevated to the 53-man squad. Meanwhile, the 49ers this week must make a decision on rookie running back Jewel Hampton. He is currently on the non-football injury list, but the team has until the end of the week to move him to the active roster.
Hunter has been an excellent change-of-pace backup for Frank Gore for the last two seasons and he's also filled in as a kick returner. His injury means Brandon Jacobs will see more action, and it could mean that second-round pick LaMichael James sees his first snaps of the season. James' style is similar to Hunter's, and James already has shown a nice rapport with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, his roommate during the offseason.
Both have a background in the spread offense, and they ran the read-option play successfully during the preseason.
Hunter is part of the team's sensational 2011 draft class. He has 371 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries this season.
-- Matt Barrows