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Wide receiver Mario Manningham says the 49ers brought him in to "move the chains."

Two rookies, two vets back on practice field

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 - 12:08 am

SANTA CLARA – While Glenn Dorsey was getting treatment on his injured right hamstring Tuesday, Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial were getting extra coaching on the practice field.

Along with wide receiver Mario Manningham and cornerback Eric Wright, the two 49ers rookies went through their first practice of 2012 as they try to cram in an offseason's worth of practice into a few short sessions. How long will it take for them to be game-ready?

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he wasn't sure.

"We're confident that one or two of them will be ready soon," he said on KNBR radio Tuesday. "Just don't know how soon yet."

It seems as though there's a greater need for Dial, a nose tackle, than Carradine, who will play defensive end.

The team's starting nose tackle, Dorsey, went down with a hamstring injury in the first quarter of Sunday's win over the Cardinals and had to be helped off the field. "It felt pretty bad when I did it," Dorsey said.

But he said the MRI taken Monday revealed the damage was not as bad as initially feared. He worked out with strength and conditioning coach Mark Uyeyama in the afternoon and afterward had only a slight limp.

"I'll be all right," he said. "I hope so."

If Dorsey can't play, Tony Jerod-Eddie would start at nose tackle. The other three active linemen are Justin Smith, Ray McDonald and Demarcus Dobbs. None of them practiced at nose tackle this offseason, but Dobbs said all three are capable of playing it if need be.

"We've got a group of guys in our (defensive line meeting) room that can play every position," he said.

The 49ers also lean heavily on their nickel defense, in which the nose tackle leaves the game in favor of a fifth defensive back. Though not ideal, the 49ers would be capable of playing most of the game out of that defense.

Both Dial, who played nose tackle and defensive end in Alabama's 3-4 defense, and Carradine have been in every defensive meeting since they were drafted in April. But Fangio said there's no substitute for being on the field.

"They're way behind," he said. "But we're going to have to go full-speed ahead."

Manningham and Wright said it felt good to finally join their teammates in practice. They had different reactions, however, on when they'd be ready to help the team on game day.

Wright, who had been on the non-football injury/illness list, said he was in good shape.

"The first step was getting out there and running around a little bit," he said. "I felt pretty good, so we'll see how it all unfolds."

Though he did not pass a physical with the 49ers in July, it was not due to an injury. Wright instead dealt with what the team described as a personal issue. Manningham, meanwhile, suffered two knee ligament tears in December.

He said one of his goals was getting his confidence back after suffering what he said was the worst injury of his career. Asked if he'd go through a full practice this week, Manningham preached caution.

"I just got cleared yesterday, man," he said with a smile. "I can't do a whole practice. I'll just ease my way into it."

Read Matthew Barrows' blogs at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers and listen for his reports Tuesdays on ESPN Radio 1320.

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MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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