SANTA CLARA After wide receiver Joshua Morgan broke his leg Oct. 9 against Tampa Bay, the 49ers held a tryout for his replacement that included veterans T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Brian Finneran, Chris Chambers and Brett Swain. They threw practice squad player Joe Hastings into the mix as well.
At the end of the session, the coaches lined up the group and had the candidates race in a 40-yard dash. Hastings came in first; Swain finished second.
Now both are expected to have roles perhaps big ones in Sunday's regular-season finale against the St. Louis Rams.
Hastings likely will be elevated from the practice squad to the active roster today while Swain, who was signed in October, could start at wideout depending on the health of Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams.
Coach Jim Harbaugh sounded more optimistic Friday about Ginn's ankle than about Williams, who is recovering from a concussion.
"Ted had a good workout (Friday)," Harbaugh said. "We didn't practice him. We held him out. But he's coming along very well, so we'll see how he responds to that, see how he looks (today)."
Ginn and Williams also are the 49ers' primary return men. If neither plays Sunday, safety Reggie Smith will handle punt returns and either running back Kendall Hunter or cornerback Chris Culliver will handle kick returns.
Swain saw action last year in Green Bay after a number of Packers wide receivers were injured late in the season. He started a Week 15 game against the Patriots and finished the season with six catches for 72 yards.
Although several notable veterans were on hand for the October tryout, Swain said he quickly determined that the hard-working Hastings would be his chief competition.
"I think that's what it came down to who was going to outwork each other," Swain recalled. "And Joe was that guy that I had my sights on. This guy's going to work hard. He's going to run his routes hard; he's going to try to be technically good at everything he does. I saw that when I first met him. And when we raced, it was all out."
At tight end, meanwhile, Justin Peelle will play in place of Delanie Walker, who was ruled out of Sunday's game with a broken jaw.
Peelle has just one catch this season, but that is because of his role as a tight end who enters games as an extra blocker. He has had at least 10 receptions in each of the past eight seasons.
Peelle, 32, also is one of the few 49ers with playoff experience.
"I'm 0-3," Peelle said sheepishly. "I've been (in playoffs) three times, which is good, but I haven't won one game, yet. I'm hoping to change that this year. We will change that this year."
Expensive hits The hit that left Williams with a concussion drew a fine from the NFL this week, but it wasn't given to the Seahawk who was penalized.
On the play, former 49er Michael Robinson was called for unnecessary roughness after he and Adrian Moten sandwiched Williams, who had slipped on the play while returning a kickoff.
The 49ers went on for a game-winning field goal on the drive.
Moten was hit with a $7,500 fine for hitting Williams late.
In addition, 49ers tackle Anthony Davis was fined $10,000 for rolling up an opponent's leg. Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was fined $15,000 for a horse-collar tackle on running back Frank Gore.
Money collected from fines goes toward retired NFL players and a variety of charities, most benefiting children and player safety.
Tickets on sale The 49ers announced playoff tickets for the general public will go on sale at 10 a.m. Tuesday through Ticketmaster. A maximum of eight tickets will be available per order.