For the first time since Aug. 11, WR Michael Crabtree and TE Vernon Davis were on the field together during 11-on-11 team period.
Crabtree missed nearly two weeks with a neck strain, and didn’t play against the Raiders on Saturday even though he had practiced in the week leading up to the game. Davis hurt his knee going up for a pass from Alex Smith in the first preseason game at Indianapolis, and hasn’t worked in full team drills since. Until today. Both practiced, though it’s uncertain whether either will face the Chargers on Thursday.
Meanwhile, C/G David Baas aggravated the stinger in his right shoulder, and TE Tony Curtis injured a quadriceps. Both left the field during or after individual drills. Baas’ injury must concern the 49ers as they make preparations to start the season without starting center Eric Heitmann. And Curtis, seemingly behind rookie Nate Byham in competition for a roster spot, can ill afford to miss much time.
LT Joe Staley (sprained knee) and ILB Matt Wilhelm (headaches) also were limited to individual work. Adam Snyder replaced Staley at left tackle with the first team, while Tony Wragge got the work at center.
RB Brian Westbrook (hamstring) sat out practice, along with long-termers WR Kyle Williams (toe), CB Will James (ankle), OLB Ahmad Brooks (kidney) and Heitmann (fibula).
Other notes from today’s practice in Santa Clara…
• Byham has been playing the H-back position so much, he’s starting to look like a glorified fullback. Not sure if that’s bad news for Brit Miller and Jehuu Caulcrick, a couple of young fullbacks shooting for a roster spot.
• Rusty or not, Crabtree stands out. On one short pass in 7-on-7, S Taylor Mays was all over him on a crossing route, but Crabs managed to tip the ball and catch it mostly with one hand. One of the better 4-yard gains you’re likely to see.
• Aubrayo Franklin got reps at nose tackle, but the rusty buildup was a little thicker on the big man. In a 1-on-1 blocking drill, Wragge put Franklin on the ground on consecutive snaps. More accurately, Franklin got caught leaning forward too far and put himself on the ground.
• CB Nate Clements made a couple nice plays to deny Crabtree, getting a fingertip on Nate Davis’ sideline throw in 1-on-1 and jumping a route to break up David Carr’s pass in team.
• Practice ended with 2-minute drill, and Nate Davis got to work with the first-team offense. I expect to see plenty of Mr. Davis this Thursday night. He didn’t deliver this time, though, as the drive petered out on an incomplete pass to Byham.
• Just out of curiosity, could the 49ers become the first team in NFL history with three Nates on its roster?