Add tackle Joe Staley to the list of 49ers who will spend the time until training camp recovering from injury and/or surgery.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that Staley had arthroscopic surgery on his knee. The knee bothered Staley all of last season and, per Barrows, he could have played on it again this year but decided to miss some time now in hopes of being totally healthy come camp and the regular season. The expectation is that Staley will be ready to go when the Niners report to camp.
Staley has made the last two Pro Bowls and he’s also garnered enough votes to be a member of the AP’s second-team All-Pro squad each year. Losing him would be a serious blow, but this knee issue doesn’t look like it carries much risk of that.
The defending NFC Champions have seen defensive end Justin Smith, linebacker Aldon Smith, guard Mike Iupati and wide receiver Michael Crabtree visit the operating room since their Super Bowl loss to the Ravens. Wide receiver Kyle Williams, wide receiver Mario Manningham and running back Kendall Hunter are also making returns from injuries that brought their 2012 seasons to an early end.
According to Barrows, the 49ers will use Staley’s absence to evaluate contenders for the team’s top backup tackle. Seventh-round pick Carter Bykowski, Kenny Wiggins and Al Netter should all be part of that competition.