Return jobs up in the air for 49ers after James injury


If teams could just pick the best 53 players this weekend, things would almost be simple.

But the 49ers have to factor in some other things into the calculations, as injuries are causing them to shuffle some jobs around.

According to Matt Maiocco of, 49ers running back/return man LaMichael James suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee Thursday night that’s expected to keep him out around three weeks. He’s not expected to need surgery.

That will push wide receiver Kyle Williams into punt return duties, though cornerback Perrish Cox could do it if he makes the roster as a fifth cornerback.

Williams hasn’t played in any of the preseason games, while recovering from last year’s torn ACL, but he’s expected to be ready for the regular season.

Kick return duties could go to Williams, or rookie wide receiver Quinton Patton. Cox and wideout Lavelle Hawkins (who had a 105-yard return a week ago) could also be in the mix, depending on roster construction.