Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers tight end Vernon Davis won't play, while Reggie Bush and Bruce Ellington return to play Packers

The 49ers will be without one of their key offensive players, however, two are returning from injury.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - 49ers tight end Vernon Davis will not play Sunday against the Green Bay Packers after being listed as doubtful on the injury report Friday with a knee injury.

Davis' absence means San Francisco's available tight ends are Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell. The 49ers offense has relied heavily on multiple-tight end sets, which they might veer away from against Green Bay.

Coming in, San Francisco used at least two tight ends on 64 percent of their offensive snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. They had success with it in the 20-3 season opening win over the Minnesota Vikings, when running back Carlos Hyde ran for 168 yards and two touchdowns.

But after falling behind big early in their last two blowout losses on the road, when they were outscored 90-25 combined, the 49ers were unable to establish their preferred run-first game plan with any success. However, they ran the ball on 13 straight plays in Arizona, after Colin Kaepernick threw pick-6s on his first two possessions. That was head coach Jim Tomsula's decision, he said.

Running back Reggie Bush and receiver Bruce Ellington will play for the first time since the opener. Bush sustained a left calf strain in the first quarter of that game, while Ellington sustained an ankle injury during practice leading up to Week 2's loss in Pittsburgh. With Bush out, San Francisco turned to Jarryd Hayne and rookie Mike Davis to spell Hyde.

"You’re never feel 100 percent. There’s always little injuries and stuff here and there. If I’m out there, then I’m playing," Bush said this week.

The 49ers have missed Ellington as well. Coming into the season, the South Carolina alum was slated for a major role on the offense after showing signs of promise during his rookie year. But because of his health, Ellington has just two catches for five yards on the season.

The Packers will be without wide receiver Davante Adams (ankle) and safety Morgan Burnett (calf). Without Adams, quarterback Aaron Rodgers' top three receiving targets will be James Jones, Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery.

Jones and Cobb lead each have four touchdown catches from Rodgers, who came entered Sunday leading the NFL with 13 touchdown passes. His favorite target, Jordy Nelson, is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL in a preseason game against the Steelers.

49ers inactives:

WR DeAndrew White

RB Mike Davis

CB Shareece Wright

OL Brandon Thomas

OL Ian Silberman

NT Mike Purcell

TE Vernon Davis

Packers inactives:

QB Brett Hundley

WR Davante Adams

CB Demetri Goodson

S Morgan Burnett

LB Jake Ryan

OL Lane Taylor

OL Bryan Bulaga


Chris Biderman is the Editor-in-Chief of Niners Digest and covers the 49ers from their headquarters in Santa Clara. Chris has been writing about the team since the spring of 2013. The Ohio State alum received his Journalism degree in 2011 and has been working in sports media since 2008. Chris, a Santa Rosa, Calif. native, is also a contributor to the Associated Press covering sports throughout the Bay Area. You can follow Chris on Twitter here.

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