SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Following a second-surgery on his fractured lower leg before training camp, 49ers center Daniel Kilgore will start the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, the team announced Monday.
The designation means Kilgore will be forced to miss at least the first six weeks of the regular season. He cannot practice with the team until Monday, Oct. 19, at the earliest, after San Francisco plays the Ravens.
Kilgore, 27, has been unable to participate in training camp to this point while his injured leg remains in a walking boot. He started seven games last season before the injury. He replaced Jonathan Goodwin, who signed with the New Orleans Saints in spring 2014.
Monday's news doesn't come as a surprise and cements that the 49ers will have a new starting center for Sept. 14's season opener against the Vikings. Joe Looney started at center in the first two preseason games, but gave way to second-year player Marcus Martin in Saturday's loss to the Broncos.
49ers head coach Jim Tomsula said Sunday he met with coaches to discuss the starting offensive line, which has struggled to protect Colin Kaepernick in the exhibition season. Kaepernick has completed 5 of 13 for 40 yards this preseason with no touchdown passes in limited playing time.
Tomsula indicated he could announce the starting offensive line this week before the 49ers play their final preseason game Thursday night against the Chargers.
As long as Kilgore returns to practice before Nov. 23 - a day after Week 11's game in Seattle - his three-week practice window will open. If he does not get added to the 53-man roster before the end of that practice window, he must be placed on injured reserve ending his season.
San Francisco trimmed its roster to 75 Monday, a day ahead of Tuesday's 1 p.m. deadline.
Smelter to start season on reserve/NFI
Rookie receiver DeAndre Smelter will start the season on the reserve/non-football injury list, and will also be forced to miss at least the first six games.
Smelter sustained a torn ACL in December with Georgia Tech before the 49ers took him with a fourth-round pick (132 overall) this spring. He was the only receiver taken by San Francisco, and was the third receiver taken in the fourth round by general manager Trent Baalke over the last three seasons joining Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington.
Smelter has spent the offseason program and training camp rehabbing his injured knee. He has been seen sprinting while pulling a weighted chain on the side field. He has not starting cutting or running routes.
The 49ers' top-five receivers are Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Ellington, Patton and DeAndrew White. Free-agent acquisition Jerome Simpson was dealt a six-game suspension by the NFL earlier this month.
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