Spencer out for preseason; Haralson longer

The 49ers will be without their top cornerback for the remainder of the exhibition season, and one of their top rookie defenders will likely miss the Sept. 10 regular-season opener and could be out even longer than that.

Third-year veteran Shawntae Spencer has a slight tear in his left hamstring that the team is calling a strain and he could miss the next two weeks of practice. Spencer, who was having an excellent training camp, was injured Wednesday while running stride-for-stride with receiver Antonio Bryant on a passing play.

Rookie Parys Haralson foot injury, however, appears to be more severe. Haralson, who was hurt in practice Tuesday, will miss at least a month and could be out indefinitely.

Spencer may be healed and ready to play again by the team's Sept. 1 preseason finale against San Diego, but the 49ers are unlikely to take the chance of sending him back onto the field for that game, giving him more time to rehabilitate and prepare for the season opener at Arizona.

"It's not a significant tear, but it will be a few weeks," coach Mike Nolan said late Thursday afternoon. "He may not (play again) in the preseason. Even if he were ready, that last one we might just pull him out of it."

Spencer's place in the starting lineup at left cornerback for Sunday's second preseason game against the Oakland Raiders will be taken by fourth-year veteran Sammy Davis. When starting right cornerback Walt Harris moves into the slot in nickel secondary coverage packages, second-year player Derrick Johnson and rookie Marcus Hudson will be the next cornerbacks in the game, Nolan said.

The 49ers signed first-year cornerback Gabe Franklin on Thursday and he saw time at left cornerback during practice. Franklin, undrafted out of Boise State last year, spent time with the practice squads of the New York Giants and San Diego Chargers during the 2005 season.

Haralson, the team's fifth-round draft pick who was in the thick of competition for playing time at outside linebacker, was hurt in practice two days ago.

Nolan did not reveal the extent of Haralson's injury, describing it as a foot strain, but it's an injury that could keep the rookie out beyond the season opener.

"He'll be out a while," Nolan said. "I don't know that he'll be ready for the beginning of the season. He'll be out longer than that. I don't believe he's an (injured reserve) candidate. But it's severe enough that he'll miss more than the preseason."

The 49ers added free agent Bobby Iwuchukwu to their roster to compete at linebacker after Haralson was hurt. The undrafted rookie from Purdue was with the New Orleans Saints briefly earlier this year.

Other injury updates:

--- Cornerback B.J. Tucker returned to practice Thursday and looked good after missing more than a week of action with an injured left ankle. Tucker aggravated the injury when he attempted to return to practice on Sunday. "I'm ready to go at whatever position they put me in," said Tucker, who was challenging to be a key player in nickel packages before the injury. "It's feels good to get out there and start playing again."

--- Tight end Eric Johnson missed practice again with a hip flexor but is expected back Friday. Johnson was hurt in Wednesday's morning practice.

--- Offensive lineman Adam Snyder (biceps) did only individual drills in practice and is unlikely to play Sunday against the Raiders.

--- Linebacker LB Renauld Williams remains out with an ankle sprain that occurred in the preseason opener against Chicago.

--- Offensive lineman Ben Sobieski's neck stinger is more severe than originally indicated and the injury may cause him to miss more time. He's unlikely to play against the Raiders.

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