No B.Y. ... now, no Nedney

The 49ers' two most productive players this season have been defensive end Bryant Young and kicker Joe Nedney. Four days after Young was lost for three to six weeks with a right knee injury, Nedney appears as if he will not be available for Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans because of a groin strain.

"B.Y. and Joe in the same week," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "That's not a good deal."

Nedney has been plagued by injuries in recent years. He sustained a torn ACL in the first game of the 2003 season, then missed all of '04 with a torn hamstring. Both injuries were to his left (kicking) leg.

Nedney aggravated his groin late in practice Wednesday. It is a condition that has bothered him most of the season, Nolan said, though Nedney told reporters earlier in that day he has been feeling healthy all season.

Young and Nedney have been bright spots in an otherwise dismal season. Young is among the league leaders with eight sacks. Nedney has made 18 of 20 field-goal attempts.

The 49ers signed free-agnet kicker Jose Cortez on Friday, and he'll likely be the team's kicker against the Titans since Nedney was listed as doubtful on Friday's injury report.

Cortez was a kicker for the 49ers in 2001 and part of 2002. He spent the first seven weeks of the 2005 season with the Cowboys and connected on 12 of 16 field goal attempts and 13 of 14 PAT attempts for 49 points. He was waived by Dallas and was claimed by the Philadelphia Eagles. Cortez played in four games for the Eagles and had three successful extra point attempts and no field goal attempts.

Cortez originally signed as a rookie free agent by Cleveland in 1999 out of Oregon State. He then spent time with the New York Giants (1999), San Francisco (2001-2002), Washington (2002) and Minnesota (2003-04). During his career, he has appeared in 52 games and has totaled 256 points, connecting on 53 of 73 field goal attempts and 97 of 98 extra points.

Meanwhile, the 49ers will move nose tackle Anthony Adams to Young's left defensive end spot. Second-year player Isaac Sopoaga will get his first career start at nose tackle.

The 49ers also announced that LB Renauld Williams has been signed from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Williams was signed to the 49ers practice squad on Tuesday.

To make room on the roster for Williams, the 49ers announced that they have waived QB Jesse Palmer.

Williams originally joined San Francisco as a rookie free agent out of Hofstra in 2004. After being waived by the 49ers in training camp, he joined the Miami practice squad and then was signed to the Dolphins 53-man roster and played in two games as a reserve. He went to training camp this past summer with the Cleveland Browns.


--- CB Shawntae Spencer rolled his ankle and was forced to leave early from practice Thursday. He did not practice Friday and is questionable on the injury report.

--- CB Derrick Johnson, who has played well as the nickel back, is in line to start Sunday's game if Spencer is not available. Johnson started one game this season, and returned a fumble 78 yards for a touchdown before sustaining a groin strain that sidelined him for one game.

--- FB Steve Bush did not practice Friday and remains questionable on the injury report. Bush returned to the field yesterday after missing Wednesday's session. He injured his knee in the Seattle game last Sunday.

--- RB Frank Gore (hip/groin) and FB Fred Beasley (stinger in his neck) missed last week's game against Seattle. Gore suffered his injury during practice last week. Beasley was injured in the Chicago game two weeks ago. Beasley has been ruled out for Sunday's game. Gore has not practiced this week and is doubtful for Sunday's contest.

--- CB Ahmed Plummer returned to practice last week after missing several weeks of action with an ankle injury that required arthroscopic surgery. He practiced last Wednesday but aggravated the injury and did not work the rest of the week. He returned to practice Friday but remains questionable on the injury report.

--- C Jeremy Newberry returned to the starting lineup last week against Seattle after sitting out of the Chicago game due to a sore knee and shoulder injuries. He is not practicing but is questionable on the injury report.

--- CB B.J. Tucker, who was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster this week, will see considerable action as a nickel back if Spencer is unable to play due to an ankle sprain.

--- RB Maurice Hicks will take over as the backup to Kevan Barlow and is expected to see plenty of action as a "change of pace" running back. Hicks has good speed and hits the hole hard. He gained 83 yards on 11 carries against the Seahawks last week in his first action on offense.

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