Hamstring injury could send 49ers safety Jimmy Ward to IR for open season

The San Francisco 49ers anticipate to be without free safety Jimmie Ward longer than they originally hoped. 

Ward suffered what trainer Kyle Shanahan called a" enough bad" hamstring injury onAug. 14, and though the Niners conceded he'd miss some time, it could bring Ward the first month of the season. 

Niners general director John Lynch said on the pregame show for Thursday's preseason homestretch against the Houston Texans that Ward is likely to land on injured reserve to start  

the season, which would bring him the first four games. " He allows us to do what we do," Lynch said on Amazon's broadcast." He is a safety who plays like a safety but also covers

like a corner. He is frequently times our stylish cover man, so it's a big loss. But we got to find a way to step up." The Niners inked expert safety Tashaun Gipson on Monday to increase

the depth and competition with Ward out. Dontae Johnson, who's entering his ninth NFL season, moved from cornerback to safety in camp and is getting a long look at free 

safety after returning from a caricature injury lately. Tarvarius Moore and George Odum have also been getting snaps in Ward's place since his injury.

Per league rules, if the 49ers want Ward to land on injured reserve with the option to return, they can not make that move until after the cutdown to the original 53- man canon.