SANTA CLARA -– The 49ers already have a player coming off a torn ACL in mind for next season's team.
Running back Kendall Hunter, who sustained the injury in practice Friday, is in the final year of his original contract with the 49ers. He is likely to be placed on injured reserve within the next couple of days.
Hunter might not get a lot of attention around the NFL as an unrestricted free agent next spring, but 49ers general manager Trent Baalke made it clear he would like to re-sign the team’s primary backup of the past three seasons.
“We’d love to have Kendall,” Baalke said. “Kendall is a tremendous football player and an even better young man. What’s the likelihood? It’s not even worth speculating at this point, but Kendall knows, as does his representative, exactly how we feel about him on both sides –- as a person and as a player.”
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Hunter appeared to be more explosive during the offseason program. He returned last year after sustaining a torn Achilles in November of 2012. Baalke said the way Hunter returned from that injury convinces him that Hunter will make a strong return from this injury, too.
“He is a mentally tough young man, so I’d expect that he’d come back very well from the injury,” Baalke said.