SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — San Francisco 49ers running back Kendall Hunter’s season is over before it began.
The 49ers confirmed Saturday that Hunter tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Friday’s practice. Hunter began training camp as the No. 2 running back behind Frank Gore.
Hunter’s knee buckled awkwardly as he tried to make a move during a non-contact drill. He was able to walk off the field on his own before an MRI confirmed the tear.
Hunter’s injury leaves LaMichael James, rookie Carlos Hyde, rehabbing Marcus Lattimore and Jewel Hampton as the most likely candidates to fill the void behind Gore in San Francisco’s power running game.
Hunter had spelled Gore more than anybody the past three years. He burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2011 and started strong in 2012 before missing the final two months of the season — when the 49ers advanced to the Super Bowl, losing to the Baltimore Ravens — with a torn left Achilles tendon.
Hunter rushed for 358 yards and three touchdowns on 78 carries last season. He has averaged 4.6 yards per carry since San Francisco selected him in the fourth round of the 2011 draft out of Oklahoma State.
He was entering the final season of his contract.