Jeremy Maclin made a cut and collapsed to the turf in the second quarter. There was no contact. He immediately grabbed his right knee. It reminded Maclin of last season, when he tried making a cut in practice and tore his anterior cruciate ligament.
“It is something that brought back flashbacks,” Maclin said.
On the field and on the sideline, teammates and coaches immediately started to worry.
“I think everybody thought the worst,” coach Chip Kelly said.
Maclin popped up, walked off on his own, and returned to the game. But the close call showed the state of Maclin’s recovery. He’s healthy, but there is concern whenever Maclin falls awkwardly to the ground.
“When I got up and could walk, when the initial shock went away, it was pretty good,” Maclin said.
Maclin said many ACL injuries occur the way he fell on Thursday, with the leg stuck in the ground while the body is supposed to go forward. Maclin attributed a strong quadriceps to keeping his leg intact.
He caught the first pass upon returning to the game and led the team with six catches for 43 yards. He was targeted a team-high eight times. Maclin has now played two preseason games, which will likely be all he plays before the regular season.
"I think I can work on my conditioning a little bit more,” Maclin said. “You try to simulate practice to get you ready for games. In some ways, practice is tougher because we move at a faster pace and the refs aren’t slowing the ball down. But the physical part is a different story. I have a feeling I’ll be a little sore tomorrow.”