By the Nov. 10 game at Carolina, expect the 49ers to activate several players to the 53-man roster courtesy of their non-football injury lists.
Wide receiver Mario Manningham (knee), cornerback Eric Wright and rookie defensive lineman Tank Carradine (ACL) began practicing last week after for the first time in six weeks as permitted by the NFL regarding Reserve/Non-Football Injury players.
All three must be promoted to the active roster or placed on injured reserve four days prior to the Panthers game.
Rookie nose tackle Quinton Dial was activated last week and saw action against the Titans after multiple injuries at that position hastened his promotion.
But concerning who would be next to be elevated, head coach Jim Harbaugh simply stated the obvious at a press conference last week:
“The three that are closest are [CB] Eric Wright, [DT] Tank Carradine, and [WR] Mario Manningham.”
Yet offensive coordinator Greg Roman offered more insight at Thursday’s media session regarding Manningham:
“He’s getting reps with the ones. He scored a touchdown yesterday in practice with the ones and [G/T Alex] Boone and everybody else decided that it was time to have an eruption. And we all had a celebration on the field welcoming him back.”
Wide receiver Michael Crabtree (Achilles) is also expected to be activated sometime next month from the physically unable to perform list in a much needed replenishment of an unproductive receiving corps – they’re open, but not targeted by Colin Kaepernick – behind Anquan Boldin.
Meanwhile rookie linebacker Nick Moody returned to practice this week after spending six games on the Reserve/Injured;Designated For Return list with a broken hand suffered in Week 1.
Rehabbing pass rusher Aldon Smith could also return next month from the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list.
So with six players becoming available who gets the boot?
Here’s a look at the potential corresponding moves:
- Manningham – place rookie wide receiver Quinton Patton (foot) to injured reserve
- Wright – waive cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha who’s been inactive five straight games
- Carradine – waive defensive lineman/tight end Demarcus Dobbs in favor of the second-rounder’s upside
- Crabtree – waive wide receiver Marlon Moore who has a six-yard catch and a nine-yard run in six games
- Moody – waive linebacker Jermaine Cunningham who’s been inactive since signing on Oct. 1
- Smith – No. 3 quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson who is practice squad eligible
Second-year insurance running back LaMichael James is not on the trading block according to general manager Trent Baalke. … James was inactive 13 weeks in 2012 and has been active for just two games this season. … The team has reportedly shopped around Asomugha along with wide receiver Jon Baldwin and running back Anthony Dixon.