Baas out up to six weeks

The first significant 49ers injury of 2005 occurred before the team's first training camp practice even began Saturday. Rookie guard David Baas, San Francisco's second-round draft choice in April, pulled his left hamstring while running earlier this week and is expected to be out up to six weeks, throwing an early twist into the team's plans along its rebuilding offensive line, where Baas was lining up as a starter before being hurt.

"It throws a little wrench into that inside position, as we all know," Mike Nolan said late Saturday afternoon after his first training camp practice as 49ers head coach. "It will give us something to watch closely as those guys move around there. But we've got a good plan. We've gone through it before. There's good flexibility inside."

Rookie Adam Snyder – the second of the team's two third-round choices in April – lined up in Baas's place as the starting right guard during Saturday's 2½-hour practice.

The Niners drafted Snyder because of his versatility to play virtually any position along the offensive line, but he currently is listed on the depth chart as the top backup at both tackle positions. Snyder was expected to push starter Kwame Harris at right tackle, but that plan now is on hold.

The 49ers already are thin in quality at guard because Eric Heitmann – the starting left guard the past three years who was expected to compete with Baas for the starting job at right guard this season – currently has moved in as the starting center while regular Jeremy Newberry's status remains uncertain. Nolan hopes Newberry can return to drills by the middle of training camp, but nobody can be sure if that will happen due to the delicate nature of Newberry's knee problems.

"This has moved Snyder into the guard position, which is something we would have done had this happened," Nolan said. "So, it kind of hurried that up."

Baas, expected to be a key cog in the team's rebuilt line this year and many seasons into the future, was injured while "running up a hill," Nolan said.

"(Doctors) say on the high side, six weeks," Nolan said. "But we'll wait and see how long that takes. That's a long time, but I kind of like the bad news first. Hopefully, it's sooner than that."

Baas also tweaked his back this spring during the Niners' organized team activities, but that apparently had no impact on this injury.

"He's pretty tightly wound," Nolan said. "When you look at him, he looks the part. He just needs to work on his flexibility.

Now Baas has plenty of time to do that.

"He'll continue to work and be in the meetings," Nolan said. "He'll do everything except, obviously, we're not going to put him out there in pads during practice. He'll be out here on the field, though, and when he can do some agilities and little drills we'll work him in. But I don't believe that will be for a couple of weeks."


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