Carlos Hyde went through a full practice Wednesday after suffering a blow to the head and another to the lower leg during Sunday’s loss in Pittsburgh.
The 49ers starting running back was cleared of a concussion after he was struck on the crown of his helmet by Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons in the third quarter. San Francisco coach Jim Tomsula said there was nothing wrong with the submarine hit Pittsburgh safety Mike Mitchell put on Hyde at the end of a run in the second quarter.
Hyde got up slowly from the shot and was tended to by trainers before re-entering the game. Tomsula noted there was no penalty on the play.
“(Mitchell) came in to tackle low,” Tomsula said. “I mean, I put it as a low tackle. Carlos is a big, strong, physical back. That’s all I have to say on that. It’s football and it’s not a knee or a hip, it was in his leg, his (quadriceps).”
Hyde leads the NFL in rushing – at 211 yards, he has seven more than Pittsburgh’s DeAngelo Williams – despite missing one-and-a-half quarters Sunday. One of his strengths is his ability take on and fight through tackles, something that also exposes him to big hits.
Does Hyde need to alter that style, Tomsula was asked, to make it through a full season?
“I don’t think you change the DNA of a guy,” he said. “That’s him. That’s what he does. That’s what we love about him.”
Iupati on track – Arizona Cardinals guard Mike Iupati, who had arthroscopic knee surgery last month, will start against his former team if he goes through a second week of practice with no swelling in the knee, coach Bruce Arians said.
“This was the scheduled week for him to be back – it just happened to be (against) his old team,” Arians said. “I’m sure there’s a little extra excitement.”
If Iupati plays, he will line up at left guard, the same spot he played for five seasons with the 49ers. That would pit him, at various points in the game, against defensive linemen Quinton Dial, Ian Williams and Tank Carradine.
Iupati was a first-round draft pick by San Francisco in 2010. The 49ers, however, signed a long-term extension with another offensive lineman from that class, Anthony Davis, and Arizona picked up Iupati in free agency in March. Davis decided to retire, perhaps temporarily, from the game in June.
Despite Iupati’s absence, the Cardinals lead the NFC West at 2-0 and their quarterback, Carson Palmer, has yet to be sacked. Palmer, who is returning from his own knee injury, has thrown seven touchdown passes against one interception and has a 124.4 passer rating.
Injuries – Running back Reggie Bush missed the first practice of the week because of a calf strain, while inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman was given a day of rest but is not injured.
The 49ers were the league’s healthiest team through the first two weeks of the season. They came home from Pittsburgh, however, with several players nicked. Tight end Vance McDonald (knee) and receiver Bruce Ellington (ankle) were limited in Wednesday’s practice. Ellington sprained his ankle in Thursday’s session and did not play in Pittsburgh. Neither did Bush.
Meanwhile, tight end Blake Bell (back), guard Alex Boone (shoulder), and receiver Torrey Smith (knee) were full participants.