Harbaugh, 49ers mum on Haralson's apparent left-arm injury

September 3, 2012, 8:19 pm
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UPDATE: (12:30) -- To make room on the 53-man roster for recent signee Clark Haggans, the 49ers have placed Parys Harlson on Injured Reserve.

Coach Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers feel as if they must hide something when it comes to the status of outside linebacker Parys Haralson.

Haralson has not practiced or played -- or been seen by the media -- since the 49ers' exhibition game Aug. 26 at Denver. When he did not suit up for the 49ers exhibition finale, Harbaugh was asked about Haralson's status.

"He's working through something," Harbaugh said.

The next time Harbaugh spoke to the media, he was asked if he expected Haralson to be available for the Green Bay Packers in Week 1.

"We'll see," Harbaugh answered.

Then, he was asked if defensive linemantight end Demarcus Dobbs might get some reps at outside linebacker.

"That's a possibility," Harbaugh said.

It's not clear what Harbaugh or the 49ers -- or Haralson, in particular -- believe they can gain by having this much uncertainty. It's not as if the Packers are going to spend much time game-planning for the 49ers' backup outside linebacker.

I've been asked by readers whether Haralson is injured or going through a personal crisis. I can't answer for certain, but I suspect he has a left arm (or wrist) injury.

This morning, I went back and re-watched all 29 of Haralson's defensive snaps against the Denver Broncos. His final play looked innocuous enough. He was engaged with Broncos tight end Joel Dressen on a second-quarter play that went another direction.

Immediately after the play, Haralson held his left arm or wrist as if he had been injured. He immediately left the game and did not return.

The 49ers kept only two healthy outside linebackers -- Aldon Smith, who is now at full strength after missing three exhibition games with a right hip bruise, and Ahmad Broocks -- on their initial 53-man roster.

The 49ers finalized a deal Sunday with veteran outside linebacker Clark Haggans. They are expected to make that announcement Monday, at which point the organization must make a corresponding move to clear room on the 53-man roster.

(Haggans might have to serve a league suspension at the start of the season after serving jail time in June stemming from a DUI in April 2011, but that's another story.)

Conceivably, Haralson could be a candidate for the new NFL rule that allows one player from every team to return to play that season from the injured reserve list. But, in order for Haralson to eligible to return, the 49ers would have to place him on injured reserve after Tuesday at 1 p.m. In the past, every player on injured reserve was out for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs.

The new NFL rule states that a player who is eligible to return must be noted as "Designated for Return" at the time the player is placed on injured reserve. The player is ineligible to practice until six weeks have elapsed since the date he was placed on the list, and is not eligible to play until eight weeks have elapsed since the date he was placed on injured reserve.

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