49ers

49ers brace for key practices with Broncos

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USATI

49ers brace for key practices with Broncos

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers return to padded work on Wednesday with the team’s best opportunity to evaluate their own players.

The Denver Broncos will arrive in the South Bay for two days of practices with the 49ers. After a fully padded practice on Wednesday, the teams will be in shells on Thursday.

The second exhibition game for both teams will take place Saturday night at Levi’s Stadium.

“Almost throughout the preseason, I see practice as more important (than the games),” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It’s not just in the scrimmages. You never know what’s going to happen in a game. You never know what the coverages are going to be. You want to see someone, but someone misses a block, so you don’t see that person.

“In practice you can control it a little bit. You can put players in certain situations that allow you to evaluate them.”

Shanahan and Broncos first-year coach Vance Joseph spoke on Sunday to organize the practice schedule for Wednesday. They will likely get together after practice the first day to arrange the format for Thursday’s practice.

The teams will go through a variety of situational drills, including third downs and red zone.

QUICK SLANTS
--The 49ers held their second non-padded practice in a row on Tuesday. The practice session was a low-key affair. DeAndre Smelter had the best catch of the day with a leaping grab of a high C.J. Beathard pass over the middle. Safety Vinnie Sunseri intercepted a Matt Barkley throw intended for Victor Bolden.

--Defensive end Aaron Lynch sat out with an ankle sprain. He is listed as day to day.

--Safety Jimmie Ward, who remains on physically unable to perform with a hamstring injury, is close to returning to the active list after undergoing strenuous workouts Sunday and Monday.

“ I feel real good about Jimmie,” Shanahan said. “We were hoping to get him back this week and I feel like we could if we really wanted to. But we’re trying to play it smart with him.”

--Rookie Reuben Foster is the 49ers’ starting weakside linebacker, Shanahan said. But he also left plenty of wiggle room.

“He started last game and he’s been starting out in these practices and getting most of the reps,” Shanahan said. “He could get beaten out at any time. If (a backup) starts performing at a higher level than him, that would be the case.”

--Veteran wide receiver Louis Murphy had a good connection with Barkley going. Murphy and Barkley teamed on a 5-yard touchdown in a red-zone drill. Murphy then caught three passes within a five-plan span at the end of practice.

49ers running back Carlos Hyde sustains hip injury early vs Rams

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USATSI

49ers running back Carlos Hyde sustains hip injury early vs Rams

SANTA CLARA -- Running back Carlos Hyde sustained a hip injury in the first quarter of the 49ers’ game Thursday night against the Los Angeles Rams.

Hyde left the game, and the club listed him as questionable to return to action.

Hyde carried the ball three consecutive times for a combined 25 yards before leaving with an apparent injury to his left side. He sat out seven plays while the 49ers medical staff evaluated him.

Hyde returned in time to pick up 4 yards on a third-and-1 play from the Los Angeles 19. He immediately left the game again and was examined further by the team’s medical staff.

Inactives: 49ers third-round pick yet to make his debut

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USATSI

Inactives: 49ers third-round pick yet to make his debut

As the 49ers take on the Rams on Thursday Night Football, the team will be without five defenders and two from offense. 

Ahkello Witherspoon, who the team drafted in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, will have to wait to make his debut another week. 

Below is the full list of inactives from Insider Matt Maiocco.