Of the players the Niners expect to have in the lineup for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills, defensive end Andre Carter is the one who's status still is the most uncertain.
"Hopefully, we'll get Andre back," Niners coach Steve Mariucci said Monday. "Other than that, it's just the normal nicks and bruises and pulls and that sort of thing." Carter has an injured left ankle that forced the rookie to miss last week's 40-21 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Carter was listed as questionable during the week, but his condition never improved and he didn't play after starting his first nine games in the NFL.
"It really bothered him not to play in that game," Mariucci said. "You could just see it in his eyes. He's improving dramatically, and he'll probably run around a little bit Wednesday and hopefully practice by Thursday."
Carter isn't the only starting defensive end who is ailing. John Engelberger, who starts opposite Carter, suffered a right heel bruise against the Colts and is listed as questionable. The injury will require some rest and Engelberger will miss practice time this week.
In other injury news:
--- Rookie linebacker Jamie Winborn has a quad contusion, but is expected to practice by Thursday.
--- Starting tailback Garrison Hearst is sore all over after taking a pounding on the turf at Indianapolis, but Mariucci said, "he will answer the bell."
--- Starting center Jeremy Newberry continues to nurse the ankle he injured on Oct. 1 against the Jets. He has played the past month with the injury and is expected to do so again this week.
--- Quarterback Jeff Garcia still is nursing knee and elbow injuries, but he'll play as he has the past month with the injuries.
--- Running back Terry Jackson has a hamstring injury that has bothered him most of the season but he is expected to be OK.
--- Two players who won't be ready for the Bills are tight end Greg Clark and special teams standout Jonas Lewis. Lewis, who tore a groin muscle early in the season, said on Monday that he is ready to resume practicing but he won't play Sunday. Clark, who hasn't played this season due to a right hamstring problem, is out at least a few more weeks and might not return this season, though he has been working diligently to get his leg back in playing shape.