In Whiting's words

Defensive end Brandon Whiting talks Tuesday about his injured shoulder, his status with the 49ers, and when he'll be able to get back on the field.

Q: How close is your shoulder to allowing you to return to action?

Whiting: I think it's just getting to a point where I know I'm not going to re-injure it. It's one thing to be able to go out there and put pads on it and get through one practice. But to know that after a few weeks practice, and getting put in awkward positions and taking on hits, I'm not going to re-injure anything to where I might miss a significant portion of time during the season. It's better to miss a few extra days here at the beginning than four or five weeks down the road.

Q: When you had surgery to repair a torn labrum in early April, did you expect to be back by now?

Whiting: They told me it would take about four months from the surgery. It's been about 4 ½ months. It's taken a little bit longer. I had a couple of complications, just on some range of motion issues, a little bit of tightness that I was having, a little bit of strength that I couldn't get back. We've definitely hit that hard and worked on it.

Q: You played with this injury last season with the Eagles, right?

Whiting: A lot of the stuff I do now is a lot better than it was last year. Anything where I have my arms out in front of me and I'm in control, that definitely feels 100 times better than it did last year. It's just when I get my arms outside of my box in here, and over my head or in an awkward position, my strength out there isn't what it should be. That's the only part that we're just getting over that last hurdle.

Q: Can you put a percentage on where you are right now?

Whiting: It's tough to tell. Some of the things that I do and feel are at 100 percent and did feel 100 percent a month ago. And then there are some things that I do that are still lagging behind. So it's tough to put a percentage on it.

Q: Since you haven't practiced with the team all year, do you feel like a 49er?

Whiting: Yeah, I'm definitely getting there. The guys on the team have welcomed me, and it's a great group of guys and they really have some fun when they play the game. I like the coaching staff a lot, so I'm starting to feel like a part of the team.

Q: Do you still feel like an Eagle at all?

Whiting: I was there for so long that I still have friends that I've known for five or six years that play on that team. I'm sure that when I retire I'm still gong to watch Eagles games and kind of root for them a little bit, but that just comes from playing for a team for so long.

Q: Can and have you played base tackle in 4-3 defensive sets?

Whiting: I have. When I got drafted to the NFL, that's what I did. But I haven't really played base tackle in (a while). I didn't really play much of it last year. It's one of those things that if it got into an injury situation where guys were hurt and they needed someone to do it, I could get in there and do it. But it's not something where I feel like I could go in there and beat another guy where that's where he primarily (plays).

Q: Besides the shoulder, what kind of shape are you in?

Whiting: Not football shape. I've been running and working out for as long as I've been able to with the shoulder and everything. There's a difference between running shape and football shape and I'm definitely not in football shape yet. But I've been running and working hard.

Q: Is there a mental barrier at all about getting back because of the shoulder?

Whiting: When I do step on the field running and working the drills that I do with our conditioning coach, it's not something that I think about consciously, but he does say every once in a while, ‘Remember to move your arm on this.' He can tell sometimes in some drills, when I'm holding it back, when it's not from pain it's subconsciously. I'm being hesitant or something like that.


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