McDonald's status for 49ers opener remains in question

McDonald's status for 49ers opener remains in question
September 4, 2014, 2:30 pm
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We got (Demarcus) Dobbs, (Tony) Jerod-Eddie, (Quinton) Dial, Tank Carradine that are all ready and willing to go.
49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio

UPDATE (2:45 p.m. on Thursday) -- Ray McDonald came out to practice after the media was kicked out. 

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SANTA CLARA -– Vic Fangio was able to bring a definitive answer on two issues on the 49ers’ defense, but a third is beyond his jurisdiction.

Defensive lineman Ray McDonald joined practice about 40 minutes late on Thursday -- after the session of warm-ups and individual drills was closed to the media. His status for the season opener Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys remains undetermined following his arrest on felony domestic violence charges on Sunday.

[MAIOCCO: Crabtree excited to play Cowboys, silent on contract]

General manager Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh said earlier this week there would not be a spot in the 49ers' organization for a person who commits an act of domestic violence. Both men stressed the importance of "due process" in determining what stance to take with McDonald. No decision had been made about McDonald’s availability.

The team’s defensive coordinator said he feels as if the line is prepared in the event they 49ers must compensate for the loss of McDonald.

“We got (Demarcus) Dobbs, (Tony) Jerod-Eddie, (Quinton) Dial, Tank Carradine that are all ready and willing to go,” Fangio said. “So, obviously, Ray would be a loss. He’s one of our top players, particularly up front. We played without Ray some last year. We’ll be ready to go.”

Fangio was able to confirm two other game-day roles for Sunday's game.

[MAIOCCO: Goodell in no rush to pass judgment on 49ers' McDonald]

Michael Wilhoite will open the regular season as the starter at inside linebacker. Wilhoite will play alongside Patrick Willis and, in effect replace NaVorro Bowman, who out for at least the first six games of the regular season as he rehabs from a knee injury.

And rookie Jimmie Ward, as expected, takes over as the team’s nickel back. The first-round draft pick will most likely draw the assignment to cover Dallas Cowboys slot receiver Cole Beasley in the season opener on Sunday.

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