LAS VEGAS – After a difficult season, one in which his teammates said most players wouldn't even have been able to stay on the field as long as he did, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw's leg gave way at the most devastating moment. of moments.
As Greenlaw prepared to run back onto the field for another Niners defensive series with 9:26 left in the second quarter of Sunday's 25-22 Super Bowl LVIII overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, he injured his right knee. left leg. Coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed after the game that Greenlaw tore his Achilles tendon.
Fellow San Francisco linebacker Fred Warner reacted angrily upon seeing Greenlaw injured. Defensive end Nick Bosa watched in stunned silence as Greenlaw limped a few feet to the sideline, where medical staff began treating him. Moments later, a teary-eyed Greenlaw was taken to the locker room on a cart.
“It was difficult. Sometimes when things like that happen, the momentum can change because it's a very emotional feeling,” Bosa said. “Dre is a unique human being. He was trying so hard this year, and I think 99% of the players couldn't have done what he did. He risked his body for this. And it sucks that we couldn't catch him [a win]”.
As is often the case with Achilles tendon injuries, Greenlaw's came without contact and at the most inopportune time. The Niners had just given the ball back to the Chiefs before Greenlaw and his defensive teammates were about to return to the field.
Greenlaw was able to get up and limp to the bench, but he and the Niners seemed to have a pretty good idea of what just happened.
The 49ers initially said it was questionable for Greenlaw to return, but they soon ruled it out.
Greenlaw had three tackles before the injury. Oren Burks replaced him at weakside linebacker and finished with five tackles.
Greenlaw missed a Week 18 game against the Los Angeles Rams with Achilles tendonitis and was still dealing with it before the NFC divisional round win against the Green Bay Packers on January 20. He also suffered injuries to his groin, ankle, hamstring, shoulder and hip. Injuries at various times during the campaign.
Still, he played in 15 regular-season games and finished with 120 tackles, 1.5 sacks and four pass deflections.
An Achilles injury often comes with a prolonged recovery that would seem to put Greenlaw's availability for Week 1 of next season in doubt — that is, unless he can follow tight end George Kittle's suggestion.
“It's depressing to get hurt in the Super Bowl,” Kittle said. “Hopefully, it will reach [New York Jets quarterback] Aaron Rodgers and discover how to recover quickly.
“Dre is the heartbeat of our defense…losing a guy like Dre, it's tough. He's just a fantastic football player, and he's everything the Niners stand for, so to lose him, it really sucks.”