Rattay's MRI exam shows improvement

The 49ers aren't taking any chances with quarterback Tim Rattay, which became obvious Wednesday when he missed practice again and had another Magnetic Resonance Imaging exam on his throwing arm.

A team spokesman said later in the afternoon that the MRI – Rattay's second in two weeks – showed improvement in his right forearm and that the healing there was coming along as expected. The team will continue on its course of resting Rattay as much as needed until he feels he can throw effectively without pain.

Rattay has missed all but a few days of training camp because of the inflamed forearm. He returned to practice Monday after missing the previous two weeks, but was limited to short throws and handoffs during team drills.

Rattay also had an MRI on Aug. 4 after he developed swelling in the forearm. It revealed no ligament or soft tissue damage. But Rattay has continued to have pain in the arm, and another MRI was scheduled.

"There's no setback," 49ers coach Dennis Erickson said. "They just want to see the difference between where we were the last MRI and where we are now so we can point to where we can treat it differently. They want to see if there is an isolated area that they can treat that can speed up the recovery process."

Rattay suffered a torn groin May 7 during San Francisco's first spring minicamp practice and had surgery four days later. He did not practice with the team again until training camp began July 30. He developed the forearm problem three days later.

It now appears Rattay is unlikely to play in the preseason unless he is able to start throwing at full strength by next week. Rattay has indicated that he probably could tough it out and play with pain if a regular-season game were this week, but the team will remain conservative with the injury the rest of this month to see if can be totally healed by September.

"He's better today than he was yesterday," Erickson said. "It's like a pulled muscle. To me, it's just a matter of however long you want to treat a pulled muscle."

Second-year quarterback Ken Dorsey will make his second consecutive preseason start Saturday when the 49ers face the Bears in Chicago. Dorsey, Brandon Doman and Cody Pickett – in that order – each will play about a third of that game.

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