The 49ers on Friday placed starting safety Jimmie Ward on the active/physically unable to perform list with a hamstring strain suffered during Thursday’s conditioning test. That means that Ward, a former first-round pick whose career has been marked by injuries, can be activated at any point prior to the final cuts this summer.
Ward practiced at free safety with the first-team defense during the spring. The position is a pivotal one in San Francisco’s new defense because the other safety often is playing close to the line of scrimmage. Secondary coach Jeff Hafley called it “the eraser” because Ward is the last chance to erase others’ mistakes.
Vinnie Sunseri, Don Jones and undrafted rookie Lorenzo Jerome also practiced there. Strong safety Eric Reid also would be an option if Ward were to be unavailable during the regular season.
Ward has missed 13 games with an array of injuries, including a foot fracture, quadriceps tear and broken collarbone, since being selected in the first round in 2014.
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*UPDATE* Jaquiski Tartt played free safety with the first-team unit during Friday’s practice. Jerome lined up there with the second-team defense.