Hamilton Still Struggling in NFL

Third-year receiver Derrick Hamilton has not practiced with the 49ers since sustaining a torn left ACL in May 2005. He was also not cleared to take part in any of the team's 11-on-11 work during the offseason program, yet the day after the 49ers' final minicamp, he played basketball in a charity game.

Hamilton threw down a dunk when the 49ers basketballers defeated the Raiders.

49ers head coach Mike Nolan said afterward that he knew nothing about Hamilton playing basketball.

"Usually if a guy is not cleared, they have a policy to keep them from doing things like a basketball game," 49ers spokesman Aaron Salkin said. Hamilton spent last season on the physically unable to perform list and underwent a follow-up surgery early this year.

Hamilton's agent, Philip Williams, said he did not know his client had played in a basketball game, but trusts his judgment.

"If he did, I'm sure he wasn't out there putting himself in jeopardy," Williams said.

Prior to Hamilton's injury 13 months ago, he was in position to be a contributor with the 49ers in his second season in the league. Now, the club's receiver corps is going to be tough to crack with Antonio Bryant, Arnaz Battle, Brandon Williams, Bryan Gilmore, Jason McAddley, Rasheed Marshall, Marcus Maxwell and Otis Amey.

Williams downplayed the basketball indicent and did some damage control by indicating that Hamilton's ordeal of the past 14 months could ultimately work in his favor.

"The whole process in some ways could end up being good for Derrick," his agent said. "It all shows that you can't take anything for granted, and you have to focus on what you got to do. From every report I've gotten from the 49ers, Derrick has done everything they expect from him. Now, he just has to get on the field and prove himself."

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