SANTA CLARA When the 49ers summoned offensive lineman Kenny Wiggins to team headquarters Friday, they told him he'd been cut. But they also told him not to go far.
The next morning, Wiggins, who played at Elk Grove High School, got another call from 49ers headquarters, this one telling him he'd been assigned to the practice squad.
"Friday was probably the hardest day of my football career, honestly," Wiggins said Saturday. "Just sitting around waiting for a phone call. I'm definitely happy that I ended up on the practice squad."
The 49ers head into the regular season with eight offensive linemen on their 53-man roster, one fewer than they carried last year. None of the three backups Leonard Davis, Daniel Kilgore and Joe Looney are offensive tackles.
Starting right guard Alex Boone would step in at tackle if either Joe Staley or Anthony Davis went down with an injury in a game. The other reserves at the position are on the practice squad.
One of them is Al Netter, an undrafted rookie out of Northwestern. The other is Wiggins, who played at Fresno State and spent time on the Ravens' practice squad a year ago. Wiggins (6-foot-6, 314 pounds) mostly has played right tackle for the 49ers this offseason.
"Coach told me when they let me go that I need to prepare every week like I'm starting," Wiggins said. "If they need me to come up to the 53 (-man roster), I'd gladly do it. That's my goal. I want to be part of the team and help it out any way I can."
The 49ers had planned to place offensive lineman Mike Person, a seventh-round pick in 2011, on the practice squad. Instead, the Colts claimed Person off waivers and placed him on their 53-man roster.
The other players who made the 49ers' practice squad were defensive linemen Tony Jerod-Eddie and Matthew Masifilo, outside linebacker Cam Johnson, wide receiver Nathan Palmer, safety Michael Thomas and inside linebacker Michael Wilhoite.
Et cetera The 49ers elected Alex Smith and Justin Smith as team captains.
They join Frank Gore and Patrick Willis, who were elected last year, as 2012 team captains. Coach Jim Harbaugh said the honor comes with a two-year term.
The 49ers were short two wide receivers for Saturday's practice.
Ted Ginn still is recovering from an ankle injury suffered last week. Mario Manningham, meanwhile, returned to Ohio for his grandfather's funeral service.
The 49ers' thinnest position: outside linebacker. Parys Haralson, one of only three outside linebackers on the 53-man roster, was absent Saturday with an undisclosed injury. The 49ers tried to acquire former Dolphin Jamaal Westerman off waivers, but he was awarded to the Cardinals instead.