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The 49ers All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga “most likely” has ACL injury – Kyle Shanahan told reporters

Nov 20, 2023 #Talanoa Hufanga

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Sunday that safety Talanoa Hufanga “most likely” suffered an ACL injury according to KNBR’s Jake Hutchinson.

Hufanga was injured in the third quarter of the team’s 27-14 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was able to leave the field, but had to be carried from the 49ers’ sideline to the locker room.

The 23-year-old has started all 10 of San Francisco’s games this year. According to NBC Sports’ Jennifer Lee Chan, Hufanga left the locker room on crutches and in a knee brace.

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He was only able to put light weight on his injured leg.

Hufanga had three interceptions and 51 tackles before Sunday’s game.

In his third year as a pro, he became a full-time starter in 2022 and quickly blossomed under former defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.

He made the Pro Bowl last season and was named All-Pro. The former fifth-round pick is highly regarded by his peers and is ranked No. 78 on NFL Network’s Top 100 list heading into the 2023 season.

If Hufanga is out for an extended period of time, his replacement, Ji Ayir Brown, is expected to take his place.

The 23-year-old was San Francisco’s third-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft out of Penn State.

Brown played in every game for the 49ers this season, but was primarily used on special teams. But he was able to come to great relief for Hoofanga on Sunday.

Brown’s first career interception helped secure the win, and Shanahan was impressed with the rookie.

“I think he did a great job,” he said, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. “The choices were huge.”

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