Harbaugh pleased with depth on both sides of ball
Rookies Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial will be leaned on heavily if Ray McDonald's biceps injury forces the defensive lineman to miss time. (USATSI)
SANTA CLARA -- Defensive lineman Ray McDonald’s status is uncertain, though he remains optimistic he sustained no significant injury on Sunday night.
McDonald injured his right biceps and underwent an MRI examination on Monday morning. His arm was not in a sling or wrapped.
[REWIND: Ray McDonald scheduled for MRI on biceps]
Regardless of the outcome of McDonald’s examination, help for the defensive line is on its way.
Rookies Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial are expected to begin practicing next week, 49ers coach Jim Harbaughs said on Monday. Players on the non-football injury or physically unable to perform lists must sit out the first six weeks of the regular season.
Harbaugh said four players could begin practicing next week – the first time they become eligible. Once a player on NFI or PUP begins practicing, there is a 21-day window during which time a team must activate him to the 53-man roster, place him on injured reserve or release him.
Wide receiver Mario Manningham and cornerback Eric Wright also “have the possibility to start practicing next week, so I’m excited about that,” Harbaugh said.
After the 49ers have a chance to watch them practice, decisions will be made about the next step.
“Based on their health and practice capability, readiness to help on game day, all those things, will determine when exactly they’re added to the 53,” Harbaugh said.
Following the 49ers’ game Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, those players are eligible to being practicing as the 49ers prepare to face the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 20. The 49ers will travel from Nashville, directly to London, where they will hold all practices leading up to the Oct. 27 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.
Each of the players will make the trip to London, Harbaugh said:
DL Tank Carradine: He sustained a torn ACL on Nov. 24, and the 49ers essentially restarted his rehabilitation after selecting him in the second round of the draft. He has the versatility to play defensive end positions on a three- or four-man line.
DL Quinton Dial: Harbaugh said the 49ers have “high hopes” for Dial, who is nearly 350 pounds and “moving real well.” He underwent surgery in January to repair cartilage and ligament damage in his toe. The 49ers selected him in the fifth round.
WR Mario Manningham: He sustained tears to the ACL and PCL in his left knee late last season. He is rehabbing daily at the 49ers’ facility. He is eyeing a return to the active roster after the bye week for the Nov. 10 game against Carolina, he told Bay Area News Group last week.
CB Eric Wright: He reported to the 49ers about three weeks after signing a one-year contract with the club on Aug. 8 as he dealt with a personal matter. The 49ers tried to sign him as a free agent in 2012.
Also, Harbaugh had positive reports on wide receiver Michael Crabtree and outside linebacker Aldon Smith.
Crabtree, who underwent surgery to repair a torn Achilles on May 22. continues to be on pace to return in mid-to-late November, Harbaugh said.
“He seems to be on track for that,” Harbaugh said.
Crabtree is starting to run as part of his rehabilitation. Harbaugh said he keeps close tabs on Crabtree’s rehabilitation.
“Yeah, I catch it now and then,” Harbaugh said. “Sometimes when we’re practicing, he’s doing his rehab work. But pretty much talk to him every day and things seem to be going well. He’s been very positive. And very upbeat and feels like things are progressing well.”
Smith took an indefinitely voluntary leave of absence, beginning Sept. 23, to enter in-patient treatment for substance abuse. He said he exchanges text messages with Smith.
“Heard things are going very well, very positive, (from the) reports back,” Harbaugh said.
There is no timetable for Smith’s potential return.