Coleman went down after a shoestring tackle in the second quarter with the Niners driving for a third score. Coleman appeared to have an opening, but was tripped up by Packers safety Adrian Amos and extended his arm to steady himself as he was going to the ground. Coleman’s arm appeared to bend at an awkward angle, and he went down in obvious pain.
While San Francisco was able to score a touchdown on the next play, the injury could be significant for Coleman. It’s not clear yet if he suffered a break at any point in his arm, but it appears very unlikely he would return for the NFC Championship game and could be in danger of missing the Super Bowl if the team advances.
David Chao, the former team doctor for the Los Angeles Chargers, who now analyzes football injuries, wrote on Twitter that it appeared Coleman may have suffered a hyper-extended elbow.
By video, appears to hurt right elbow as he tried to stay up. Hyperextension elbow injury. Some worry for radial head fracture. Likely headed for X-ray. https://t.co/CMauOCtKnj
— David J. Chao (@ProFootballDoc) January 20, 2020
Coleman had been an important part of the San Francisco 49ers run to the NFC title game. He ran for 105 yards on 22 carries with two touchdowns in a win over the the Minnesota Vikings, and had 21 yards in the championship game before being hurt.
The 49ers relied on a run-heavy approach in the win over the Vikings and jumped out to a big first-half lead against the Packers. As Coleman revealed after the divisional round win, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan made it clear that the 49ers were prepared to run as much as needed.
“Kyle said we were going to run the ball more than 30 times, so I definitely had that in my head,” Coleman said, via NBC Sports San Francisco. “I had that mindset, and that’s what we did. I woke up with the mindset we got to go. Win or we go home. We practiced hard, and we went out there and we did our jobs.”
— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) January 20, 2020
In the lead-up to the title game, Coleman also became a human interest story. NBC Sports San Francisco noted how he was born premature and almost didn’t pull through.
“I was born three months early,” Coleman said. “I was premature. I had a 20 percent chance of living. So I was just a fighter. I fought through it, and I’m here now, so I’m real blessed by God to be here, to be playing football, to be doing what I do.”
The loss of Coleman did not slow the 49ers against the Packers, as fellow running back Raheem Mostert had 130 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns before halftime. But a long-term injury could have a major impact in the Super Bowl if the 49ers advance, putting more pressure on Mostert.