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49ers suddenly hurting with running back injuries adding up

Eric Edholm
Shutdown Corner
San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde catches a pass during NFL football mini-camp in Santa Clara, Calif., Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde catches a pass during NFL football mini-camp in Santa Clara, …

The San Francisco 49ers have gone from embarrassing riches at running back to a question about depth.

Following last week's torn ACL suffered by Kendall Hunter, the 49ers watched LaMichael James go down with what's being reported as a dislocated elbow. It appears that James will be out a month, which could put him in some doubt of being ready for Week 1.

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Yes, the 49ers still have Frank Gore and second-round pick Carlos Hyde, and there is an intriguing mystery man lurking in 2013 fourth-rounder Marcus Lattimore.

But Lattimore, who is on the non-football injury list with knee and hamstring issues, still hasn't practiced and has yet to take a snap in the NFL after coming back from a horrific college injury at South Carolina. The only other running back on the roster currently is Jewel Hampton, who spent last season on the team's practice squad.

With Gore not expected to handle much of a workload in the preseason (he never does), the team certainly could stand to add a little preseason depth. James was viewed as the odd man out in the offseason, but not getting rid of him now looks quite smart — even if he's currently out of action.

Expect Hyde and Hampton to be featured prominently in the preseason, and Hyde should be able to carry that over into a significant regular-season role. He proved himself to be even more well-rounded in summer workouts than even the team expected.

Still, there's a little bit of concern suddenly at a position we thought was as loaded as there was at one time in the NFL.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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