After Joe Staley was diagnosed with a broken eye socket in Philadelphia, the 49ers hoped their starting left tackle could return in time to play the Seahawks on Nov. 26, a week after their bye.
He might be available sooner than that.
Staley practiced Wednesday with a tinted visor covering his still-healing face, which at least gives him a chance to play Sunday against the New York Giants.
Staley declined to talk about his eye prior to Wednesday’s practice. A week earlier he said team doctors wanted to see it begin to heal before they sent him back onto the field. He suffered no damage to his vision when he was hit by Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox on Oct. 29 and surgery is not required.
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The initial swelling that had Staley looking out of a small slit in his right eye also has gone down considerably.
With Staley out Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, Trent Brown moved from right tackle to left tackle while undrafted rookie Erik Magnuson stepped in on the right side. The 49ers allowed five quarterback sacks – and 16 hits overall on C.J. Beathard – but both Brown and Magnuson came away with solid marks for their performances.
Taylor’s ribs – Trent Taylor joked Wednesday that he had been felled by a sniper poised on the Levi’s Stadium roof.
After all, that’s what it looked like when the rookie receiver suddenly went down in a heap, with no defenders around him, late in the second quarter. Taylor later was diagnosed with a broken rib and will not play against the Giants.
He said he was merely making a cut on a pass route when he felt a blinding pain flash through his side. He suspects the hit – or hits – that actually caused the damage came earlier but that he had been able to play through the pain.
The first, he said, may have happened a week earlier in Philadelphia. He also absorbed a big blow when players fell on top of him during a punt return Sunday.
With Taylor out, fellow rookie Victor Bolden will handle punt-return duties. The role of slot receiver will be divided among various pass catchers with Aldrick Robinson likely taking the lion’s share of the snaps.
Et cetera – Staley wasn’t the only would-be starter who practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas (knee), cornerback Dontae Johnson (shoulder), nickel back K’Waun Williams (quadriceps), fullback Kyle Juszczyk (neck) and guard Brandon Fusco (biceps) also practiced. Some of them may end up being game-time decisions.
▪ Defensive end Tank Carradine, who went on injured reserve in September with a high-ankle sprain, practiced with the team Wednesday. He is eligible to come off of injured reserve before the team’s Week 12 game against Seattle.
▪ Giants coach Ben McAdoo, who earlier in the week floated the idea of making a change at quarterback, said Wednesday there was “zero” chance rookie Davis Webb starts. He said embattled Eli Manning would continue to be the team’s quarterback. The Giants drafted Webb out of Cal in the third round in April.