Health watch

Here's the latest on the status of several 49ers who have been hampered by injuries or other physical ailments:

JEFF ULBRICH: The fifth-year linebacker was back at full speed during Thursday's practice and showed no ill effects from the bout with food poisoning that forced him to miss Wednesday's session with what the team described at the time on its injury report as "sickness." "You should have seen me yesterday," Ulbrich said Thursday. "I came in here, I had a ring of sweat around my neck. I spent lots of time on the tiolet." Ulbrich said his "sickness" derived from eating a piece of fish he purchased at a nearby market.

BRANDON LLOYD: The second-year receiver participated full speed in all practice drills Thursday for the first time since he injured his groin two weeks ago, a condition that forced him to miss the past two games. Lloyd returned to practice Wednesday and took part in some activities, but he let it loose Thursday and appears certain to play this week against the Arizona Cardinals. "He's ready to go," coach Dennis Erickson said. What Erickson's not so sure about is if Lloyd's ready to return to the starting lineup. The coach said he'll need to look at Lloyd a little longer to make that decision. Veteran Curtis Conway has been playing well in Lloyd's place and could start for the fourth consecutive week Sunday. Conway started in place of injured Cedrick Wilson in Week 2.

ERIC JOHNSON: Johnson had to leave Wednesday's practice session when he experienced pain in his ribcage, and he had an MRI exam later in the afternoon, the results of which came back Thursday morning. "It was negative," Erickson said. "He has a bruise in his rib." The condition, however, forced Johnson to miss Thursday's session and could keep him out of practice the remainder of the week. Johnson said he expects to play against the Cardinals, but Erickson said team doctors told him "there is a 50-50 chance of him playing. It's like a coin toss." But Erickson indicated that he, too, expects that Johnson will be able to play, and the tight end - who's second in the NFL with 28 receptions - actually was upgraded to probable on Thursday's injury reprt. "I'd be surprised if he didn't (play), but we'll see how the pain is," Erickson said. "It's strictly pain right now. We'll see how it is tomorrow. But there's no guarantees."

JOHN ENGELBERGER: Engelberger didn't practice again Thursday and it's beginning to look like he might be on the doubtful side of questionable, his official listing on Thursday's injury report. He has a rib bruise and some pulled abdominal muscles that cause considerable pain with minimal movement. "He's better today, but he's very questionable," Erickson said.

TIM RATTAY: The team's starting quarterback does not appear on the team's injury report for the first time this year and continues to look better and better in practice after returning from a separated shoulder he suffered in the Sept. 12 season opener, an injury that followed groin and forearm injuries earlier in the year. "He's better this week than he was last week," Erickson said. "He's throwing with more confidence. He has more zip on it. He's getting back to where he was before he got hurt in (May) minicamp, which was a long time ago. Physically, I believe he's there, yes."

KWAME HARRIS: After missing the past two games with ankle and knee injuries, the second-year left tackle is probable this week and should see action. He suited up last week against the Rams but did not play. "He's close to full speed, but he's not quite full speed yet," Erickson said. "If he's not 100 percent, he's not going to start. We'll see how continues to improve."


Niners Digest Top Stories