49ers' Staley returns to practice field

Roman proud of Looney, talks replacing Staley and Iupati

49ers' Staley returns to practice field
December 5, 2013, 2:00 pm
Share This Post

Joe Staley suffered an MCL sprain in his right knee on the sixth offensive play against the Rams. (USATSI)

SANTA CLARA -- Joe Staley’s odds of playing Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks have greatly improved.

The Pro Bowl left tackle took part in at least limited drills during 49ers practice on Thursday, and appeared to be moving well during pass-blocking sets during warmup drills.

Staley sustained an MCL sprain in his right knee four days earlier against the St. Louis Rams that knocked him out of the game after just six offensive plays. The team originally though Staley would miss at least one game due to the injury.

Meanwhile, left guard Mike Iupati sat out of practice on Thursday. It does not appear he will be available to face the Seahawks on Sunday. He sustained his injury on Nov. 17 against New Orleans.

The 49ers suit up seven offensive linemen for every game. The team has eight linemen their 53-man roster.

If neither Staley nor Iupati is available, the 49ers will make a move to have another reserve lineman available for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks.

“Haven’t made that decision, yet,” 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Thursday. “We got somebody in mind and haven’t really finalized it, yet.”

The 49ers’ options would be guard Al Netter, who has spent most of the past two seasons on the practice squad, and rookie seventh-round draft pick Carter Bykowski, a tackle who has spent this season on the practice squad.

But it’s a situation the 49ers hope to avoid, as Staley now appears to have a better chance of being available to play in Sunday’s game.