Amid turf-gate, or the sod-pocalypse happening at Levi’s Stadium Friday, there were some positive developments for the San Francisco 49ers on the injury front.
It sounds like Glenn Dorsey has a good chance at returning this season following successful surgery to repair his torn left biceps tendon.
"When (the doctors) got in there, they felt like it could not have gone better," Jim Harbaugh said. "It was a real good surgery."
Harbaugh said there’s a "very good chance" Dorsey is placed on injured reserve with a return designation, which would allow him to return to the field for Week 10’s game in New Orleans Nov. 9 at the earliest. "We would like it to happen, yeah. As an organization we would like to see that happen," he said.
Dorsey sustained the injury Aug. 1 during an early training camp practice. Since then, he signed a two-year extension for a reported $8.725 million, avoiding free agency in the coming spring.
There was also good news surrounding Dorsey’s backup, Ian Williams, who returned to practice last week for the first time since undergoing four procedures to repair his broken ankle suffered in Week 2 of last season.
Williams is looking “Better than I thought he would,” said Harbaugh. “He’s been good right from the beginning. Right from the first day he was out there…The guy looks better than before.”
Williams did not play in the second preseason game against the Denver Broncos, and his status is unknown for Sunday’s game against the Chargers. Reserve nose tackle Mike Purcell has been dealing with an undisclosed injury and has worn a blue non-contact jersey during practice this week.
Harbaugh said he expects LaMichael James to play Sunday after suffering a dislocated left elbow during the first weekend of camp during a blitz pickup drill. James returned to practice last week and would be making his preseason debut.
"I just really want to be out there with my teammates competing and just playing,” James said. "The medicine’s on the field just like coach Harbaugh said."
James said he will wear a brace on his left arm and hopes to be healed enough to not need it during once the regular season starts.
The 49ers lost second-string halfback Kendall Hunter for the season with a torn ACL in late-July and James a day later. James will likely resume his punt return duty and could get some time with time on offense Sunday.
Strong safety Antoine Bethea suffered an apparent concussion in the first half of last week’s loss to Denver and has been going through the NFL’s mandated concussion protocol this week.
Harbaugh said he thought it was likely the doctors would clear him to play Sunday against the Chargers, but the team will hold him out, presumably for the remainder of the preseason. Bethea was at practice Friday wearing a non-contact jersey and should be ready for the season opener Sept. 7 in Dallas.
Harbaugh did his best to put the question of the playing surface for Sunday’s game to bed, saying the new sod being laid in Levi’s Stadium would not impact the coaching staff’s plan surrounding playing time in the third preseason game, which is typically a dress rehearsal for the regular season.
"(I’m) sure the field’s going to be good and playable," said Harbaugh.
49ers COO Al Guido met with reporters Friday and said unequivocally the field will be ready and playable for Sunday’s game after Friday’s re-surfacing. The team had to cancel two high school games slated for August 29, and instead added two doubles-headers Oct. 10 and 11.
There will be no change in the order of quarterbacks to take the field Sunday, Harbaugh said, noting Blaine Gabbert will continue to be the No. 2 quarterback, for now.
Gabbert has struggled in his two preseason outings, completing 11 of 25 throws for 60 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns.
Harbaugh said following last week’s 34-0 drumming from the Broncos the offense was not being precise, and echoed that sentiment Friday.
"I don’t judge it off just those (numbers). I’ve been pretty clear when I thought we needed to get better at as a unit, a team-oriented offense that has precision and plays well together, all 11. And that’s what we’ve been striving for," he said.
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