Baas may make return next week vs. Chargers

David Baas told SFI he will meet with team doctors after Thursday night's game in Chicago and could be cleared to return to practice by the time the 49ers return to the field Saturday morning. The offensive guard also said "the percentage in my mind is pretty high," that he may see action in next Friday's exhibition finale against the San Diego Chargers after missing all of training camp.

Baas, who underwent surgery in late April to repair a torn pectoral that he suffered lifting weights, has made steady progress in his recovery and is now on the verge of returning to action.

"We're working on that," Baas told SFI. "I'm going to talk with the doctors after the game and go from there. It kind of depends on the docs, what they say, because I'm no medical specialist. I can tell them how it feels, and they know if it's time or not."

But Baas feels like it's time. The burly 330-pound right guard, who came on strong at the end of last season after assuming the position following Justin Smiley's season-ending shoulder injury, has been doing lifting exercises to regain his strength and field drills to simulate what he would be doing in the offensive trenches without making actual contact.

Baas said he increased his workload substantially this past week and his body is responding. He is not feeling any soreness and is quickly getting back into football shape. He is anxious to get back to the real deal.

"We're pushing it, really getting in some good work to see how it responds, lifting, punching drills - simulating what I would do in individual stuff during practice," Baas said. "It's feeling really good. We don't want to do anything stupid with it and push it too fast, but I'm anxious to get back and get going again. I'm getting kind of stir crazy."

The 49ers certainly are anxious to get Baas back into their lineup. Though Tony Wragge has performed admirably at right guard in Baas' absence, Baas is likely to be inserted right back into the lineup when he is ready. Wragge has played so well that there's a possibility he could move over to left guard, where Adam Snyder has struggled this summer. Snyder sat out Thursday's game with an ankle injury suffered earlier this week - rookie Brian de la Puente started in his place - and his status for next week's preseason finale still is uncertain.

Coach Mike Nolan intimated earlier this week that Baas indeed might be back with the team next week and "there's a possibility" he would be available for the San Diego game, though "that doesn't mean we will play him necessarily in the game."

Baas told SFI "I wouldn't rule it out," when asked if he might play against the Chargers.

"It would be nice to be back at least for San Diego to get maybe a series or something," Baas said. "Just to get in there and get my timing back like, 'All right, I remember this.' The percentage in my mind is pretty high that I'll play."

In any event, Baas said he is certain he'll be ready to play in the regular-season opener Sept. 7 against the Arizona Cardinals.

"But I'd like to get a little time in (the San Diego) game first," Baas said.

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