Rehabbing Rattay ready for Rams?

Tim Rattay has tried pain-blocking injections. He has tried acupuncture. He has tried "every different kind of treatment I can find," Rattay said, to get his right shoulder healthy enough to resume his role as the 49ers' starting quarterback. On Wednesday, after two days without attempting a pass, Rattay just came out and threw at practice. And it felt good.

"Really good," Rattay said. "I threw a lot of balls, a lot of deep balls. I'm close. Now it's a matter of maintaining it, feeling the same way tomorrow and feeling better (after that)."

Rattay's return to full practice drills Wednesday - for the first time since he separated his shoulder in the Sept. 12 opener against Atlanta - went down as a success, leaving the Niners hopeful that he can return to the starting lineup for Sunday night's game against the St. Louis Rams.

But that's no sure thing.

When asked if Rattay would be the starting quarterback had the Niners played a game Wednesday, coach Dennis Erickson shot back with, "No."

"But what he did today was better than we thought he would, which is very encouraging," Erickson continued. "He looked OK. I thought he came out and threw the ball with a lot more velocity than he has. He looked better than he did Sunday before the game (at Seattle). So there's improvement. Hopefully, he'll continue to get better and better.

"Is he 100 percent? No. Is he getting towards that? Yes. The thing that he did do is he came out and made the right throws in the right places, all that mental stuff that he needs to that he paid attention to while he's been going through this rehab."

Rattay has been accelerating his rehab in an attempt to get back on the field as soon as possible. Two weeks ago, after sitting out the entire week of practice, Rattay needed more than a half-dozen pain-blocking injections just to be available as Ken Dorsey's backup for the Sept. 19 game at New Orleans.

Last week at Seattle, he needed just two injections to get his shoulder limber. After resting his arm and shoulder on Monday and Tuesday, Rattay came out and threw extensively for the first time without pain-blocking injections.

"I wasn't really sure how it was going to react today," Rattay said. "I thought I'd come out and just throw a little bit, but I did a lot more today than I thought I would. It's actually been feeling really good. It's felt good these last two days, so I thought I'd fire up and try to come out and do as much as I could. And then it felt good when I started throwing. I just told them, ‘Hey, I'm good, so let's go.' So they just kept giving me more reps and it felt fine."

Rattay took extensive repetitions in team drills, though Dorsey – who's nursing a groin strain – also received some work with the first team.

The determining factor on Rattay's status this week is how his shoulder feels over the next few days.

"We just have to see how it feels tomorrow and Friday," Rattay said. "I'm not expecting it to be really sore. If it keeps going like it's going, I'm hoping to go (against the Rams). It feels a ton better today without shots than it did Sunday with a shot. So I think, hopefully, I'm turning the corner on that."

Rattay said he won't take an injection during the week, and he will let doctors determine if he'll need a shot to be able to play without pain Sunday.

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