Free safety Jimmie Ward on Friday said he’s “100 percent and good enough to go” in Sunday’s game in Seattle against the Seahawks. According to the 49ers, however, his availability is more like 50-50.
The team designated Ward as “questionable” on their official injury report. That’s a step up from his “doubtful” status in Week 1 and representative of the fact he was more active in this week’s practice than he has at any other point since his July 27 hamstring injury.
“I thought he had his best day today,” coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday.
Still, the 49ers have been extremely cautious with Ward’s injury and it seems likely that Jaquiski Tartt will make his second consecutive start at free safety.
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“He’s got to wait until it’s 100 percent,” Shanahan said of Ward. “Because you always want to go play when someone’s 90 percent. And we’d love to get him out there. But we don’t want to have him go out for a few plays and then miss him for another month.”
Ward was warming up before the 49ers’ third preseason game at Minnesota on Aug. 27 when he felt something pop in his left hamstring and went to the turf. It turned out it was the scar tissue from the originally injury breaking apart.
He said he was scared at first but that he’s felt more fluid and more himself since that happened.
“I was nervous. This is my first hamstring injury,” he said. “But after a while, throughout the week, it ended up getting better.”
As for Tartt, coaches generally gave him good marks in his first game as a single-high safety. He missed a tackle on the Carolina Panthers’ first touchdown pass and he was penalized – and fined $9,115 – for a hard hit on tight end Greg Olsen.
But he also had an acrobatic, one-handed interception on a deep pass to the end zone in the second quarter and led the 49ers with seven tackles.
“I gave up a mis-tackle,” Tartt said. “It was a blown coverage. And being a free safety, they count on you to make that play. I’m the last line of defense when a blown coverage happens. I’ve got to come up with that tackle.”
Injuries – Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster, who has been watching practices with a plastic boot on his injured upper ankle, was declared “out” for the game. Ray-Ray Armstrong is expected to make his first NFL start since Sept. 20, 2015, when he was with the Raiders.
After missing Wednesday’s and Thursday’s practice with a hamstring strain, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman practiced in full Friday. Seattle lists him as “questionable.”