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Marcus Martin Could Earn 49ers Starting Center Spot

San Francisco is without its starting center.

Thearon W. Henderson

The San Francisco 49ers didn't just lose the game at Denver. They also lost their starting center, Daniel Kilgore.

Kilgore was carted off the field with a lower left leg injury in the Niners' 42-17 loss in Denver and it was revealed Monday during head coach Jim Harbaugh's afternoon press conference that Kilgore will undergo surgery and be placed on the season-ending Injured Reserve list.

That revelation opens up the possibility of former USC Trojan center Marcus Martin taking over the position in Week 9 when the 49ers play the Rams November 2 after San Francisco comes off its Bye next week. Martin has yet to play this season after he sustained his own left leg injury in a preseason game.

Harbaugh said the team would evaluate the position during their week off and make a determination between Dillon Farrell, who took over for Kilgore on Sunday before leaving with his own injury, left guard Joe Looney, who moved to center after Farrell's injury, and Martin.

"We’ll evaluate that as we go, but I think right now the first shot at that will be Marcus Martin," Harbaugh said.

Martin, the 49ers' third round pick in this year's draft, returned to practice earlier this month and Harbaugh seems to have been impressed by what he's seen from the rookie Trojan:

"He’s excelled at the mental aspects. Before and after he was injured, I’ve been real impressed with that," Jim Harbaugh said. "Even when he knew he was hurt, knew he would be out multiple weeks, he didn’t ease off in the classroom or with his study. I think that bodes well.

"[Marcus Martin’s] a bright youngster, and he’s champed at the bit to get on the field. He didn't take the opportunity to let the injury linger, so good signs. Excited about his progress and we'll look forward to good things."