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49ers notes: Milestone for Manningham

Published: Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6C
Last Modified: Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 - 6:18 am

WATFORD, England – Welcome back, Mario Manningham.

The 49ers wide receiver punctuated his comeback from a knee injury this week by catching a long touchdown pass from quarterback Colin Kaepernick during Thursday's practice, sparking an impromptu party in the end zone.

"(Alex) Boone and everybody else decided it was time to have an eruption," offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "We all had a celebration on the field."

It's still being determined when Manningham will be available to perform similar feats on game days.

He hasn't played since December, when he tore the ACL and PCL ligaments in his left knee during a loss to the Seahawks. He was placed on the physically unable to perform list when the season began and joined practice last week for the first time. From that point, the 49ers had a three-week window to add him to their 53-man roster.

"It's day-to-day," Roman said. "He'll just continue to work day-to-day and will be evaluated day-to-day."

The 49ers certainly could use his help. No wideout other than Anquan Boldin has caught a touchdown pass this season. And Kyle Williams, the team's second-leading pass catcher at the position, is 103rd in the league among wideouts in receiving yards.

Praise for Wright, too – Cornerback Eric Wright, another player with a chance to join the 53-man roster soon, also was praised.

Wright spent last week's practices on the scout team. This week, he received a promotion – working with the 49ers' first-string defense.

"A few snaps here and there," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "Obviously, he's not comfortable in the system yet, but he's a guy that we think, once he kind of grasps it, he'll grow by leaps and bounds quickly."

The 49ers have a unique situation at cornerback with six players who all have value to the team. If Wright and Manningham are elevated, two other players must be taken off the roster.

Wright's advantage is that he has experience and can play on the outside as well as in the slot as a nickel- or dime-defense cornerback.

Asked if the 49ers had a tough decision looming, Fangio said, "It could be, but eventually there will be a spot for a cornerback-slash-nickel-dime player. They'll eventually work their way out there."

Ailing but able – Tight end Vernon Davis said he had to pull himself out of the team's Wednesday practices the previous two weeks because of lingering soreness from a Week 2 hamstring injury that forced him out of the Week 3 loss to the Colts.

But in the past three weeks, he's caught 15 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns. He's fourth in the NFL among tight ends in receiving yards behind New Orleans' Jimmy Graham, Cleveland's Jordan Cameron and San Diego's Antonio Gates.

"You have to continue to push through it," Davis said of his injury. "And my team – they need me."

Et cetera – All four of the players who missed Wednesday's practice – wide receiver Jon Baldwin (illness), defensive ends Justin Smith (shoulder) and Ray McDonald (biceps) and nose tackle Glenn Dorsey (hamstring) – practiced Thursday.

• Fangio said Smith may not practice on Wednesdays for the rest of the season. "I don't know that he'll ever practice full when you get a guy that's 34 years old… ," he said. "You take care of them during the week so they can be at their best on Sunday."

• The 49ers announced the completion of the first phase of solar panels at their new stadium in Santa Clara. The amount of solar energy generated at the stadium and surrounding grounds is expected to offset the power consumed there during the team's games.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Matthew Barrows



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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