49ers CB Chris Culliver out for season with ACL tear
Culliver was running down field on a punt drill, with rookie Marcus Cooper blocking him when he fell to the ground, tightly grasping his left knee in main. Team trainers immediately rushed over to examine Culliver’s knee. Coach Jim Harbaugh also checked on Culliver while he was down on the practice field.
A dejected looking Culliver was eventually carted off the field, with general manager Trent Baalke putting his around the third-year player in an attempt to console him.
Even though Culliver did not start as a rookie, he got an opportunity to start six games in 2012 while appearing all 16-regular season contests. He had a big role as the team’s third-cornerback last season, entering games on the outside when opponents used three wide receivers. Culliver finished with 47 tackles, passes defensed and two interceptions after playing 63 percent of the 49ers' defensive snaps last season.
In Culliver’s absence, newcomer Nnamdi Asomugha is expected to get more snaps. Harbaugh noted Asomugha had some "eye-popping plays” in training camp. He had his best practice since joining the 49ers on Wednesday.
''What it means right now is there are some guys getting an opportunity to show what they can do,” said Harbaugh, “which is a positive there. And there's people who have been doing that.”
Fourth-year cornerback Tramaine Brock also played well in the first week of training camp. Perrish Cox, Cooper and undrafted rookies Darryl Morris as well as Lowell Rose will also see more action in the secondary in the aftermath to Culliver’s injury.
The San Francisco 49ers also have interest in adding free-agent Eric Wright to the mix at cornerback. Last week, the trade that would have sent former Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Wright to the 49ers was voided after he failed a physical.
Meanwhile, linebacker Patrick Willis sat out Thursday’s practice with a black cast on his fractured right hand. However, Harbaugh believed Willis be ready in time for the 49ers’ season-opener against the Green Bay Packers. Additionally, fellow starters NaVorro Bowman (groin), Aldon Smith and Jonathan Goodwin also missed Thursday’s practice. Receivers Kyle Williams, Kassim Osgood and A.J. Jenkins did not practice as well.