The 49ers today placed Mario Manningham on injured reserve today, ending the receiver's season and likely his career with San Francisco. 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 to action in Week 10. Since Week 11 he has been listed on the 49ers' injury report with a knee issue.
Asked today if Manningham had re-injured the surgically repaired knee or otherwise suffered a setback, 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."
Harbaugh spoke just minutes before the team announced that Manningham would go on injured reserve. In typical Harbaugh fashion, he said he didn't "foresee" Manningham playing against the Cardinals. Asked about the playoffs, he said, "We'll see."
Manningham missed two practices last week as well as Monday's game against the Falcons, and he also sat out Thursday's practice, the first of the week for the 49ers. Manningham warmed up with his teammates, then trotted over to a side field to work with strength and conditioning coaches while the rest of the team practiced.
Rookie wideout Quinton Patton took Manningham's spot in the lineup on 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 receiver Chuck Jacobs - to take Manningham's spot on the active roster. Because anyone who is added to the 53-man roster now likely would be inactive Sunday against the Cardinals, the 49ers probably won't make any more roster moves until next week.
Whoever is in the No. 3 receiver role, however, should not expect to see a lot of passes thrown his way. Manningham's targets, for example, were reduced to a trickle when Michael Crabtree returned to the lineup on Dec. 1. Patton wasn't targeted at all on Monday.
The 49ers signed Manningham to a two-year deal in March 2012. He has played in 18 games (13 starts) since then and has recorded 51 receptions for 534 yards and one touchdown.
-- Matt Barrows