NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Monday that an MRI revealed Sherman suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain in Sunday's win in New Orleans, per a source informed of the injury. 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed the severity of the injury and said Sherman will likely miss multiple weeks.
Sherman has been his lockdown-self this season, all but wiping out the left side of the field and smothering receivers. Pro Football Focus ranks Sherman as their top corner among those who have played 400-plus coverage snaps this season.
Emmanuel Moseley, who did a stellar job filling in earlier in the season, should step in to Sherman's spot for as long as the veteran is out.
We've seen Sherman battle back from injury quicker than anticipated in the past, but the 49ers must weigh his importance in the final three weeks as they battle for the No. 1 seed versus ensuring he's as close to as fully healthy as possible when January rolls around.
The loss is substantial for a 49ers team that bases much of its offense out of its ability to run the football and benefits from the resulting play-action fakes. Richburg ranked 12th among all centers in the NFL with at least 250 snaps played in pass blocking with a grade of 72.1, per Pro Football Focus, allowing just 16 pressures and one sack on 440 pass-blocking downs. He's the 25th-best center in run blocking, per PFF, and he's in the company of Chicago's Cody Whitehair, Buffalo's Mitch Morse and New England's Ted Karras in terms of overall PFF grade.
Richburg has appeared in 79 games over his six-year career, starting 78 of them. Ben Garland will likely replace Richburg, per the team's depth chart. Garland has appeared in 60 games, starting in seven, and though he's listed as a guard, he'll assume the additional responsibilities associated with playing center as the 49ers continue their push for the NFC West crown.