Coach Jim Tomsula chose not to comment on right tackle Anthony Davis, who skipped the 2015 season for health-related reasons but remains under contract with the 49ers and has stated his intent to return in 2016.
“I just keep up with the guys that are here,” Tomsula said Thursday when asked if he keeps in touch with Davis. “We’re in-season, and I keep up with the guys that are here. And 100 percent of what I have is with the guys that are here.”
Asked if he plans to seek out Davis when the season ends, Tomsula said, “That’s an offseason discussion.”
Davis, 26, abruptly stepped away from the NFL in June for what he later said were health-related issues, including problems with his hands and feet. He was one of the top right tackles in the league before his injury-plagued 2014 season, which included a concussion that sidelined him for four consecutive games.
The 49ers mostly have struggled at the position with fill-in Erik Pears. Sunday could bring the first change at that position this season.
Right guard Marcus Martin suffered a concussion Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals and has not practiced this week. The 49ers reacted to that injury by moving Pears to right guard and inserting rookie Trent Brown at right tackle. Brown handled the role well, and he could get his first start against the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Staley vs. Ansah – Joe Staley, who this week was named to his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl, said he looks forward to Sunday’s matchup against Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, who is tied for second in the NFL with 13 1/2 sacks.
“He’s having a terrific season and is a good player,” Staley said. “Especially playing him there in his stadium, it’s going to be an exciting matchup.”
Staley said he’s mostly played well this year with one exception – the 49ers’ Week 13 win at Chicago, a game in which he allowed two sacks and four quarterback hurries, most of them by Bears defensive end Willie Young.
“That’s the one I want back,” he said.
Sitting out – Guard Alex Boone (knee), running back Shaun Draughn (knee), Martin and linebacker Michael Wilhoite (ankle) did not practice Thursday, but everyone else was on hand.
If Draughn can’t play Sunday at Detroit, the 49ers would have only two healthy runners – Kendall Gaskins and DuJuan Harris – unless they make a roster move. Rookie Mike Davis is practicing this week but can’t be added to the active roster until next week.
If the 49ers felt they needed a third runner for the Detroit game, they could elevate Jarryd Hayne from the practice squad.
Late start – With Christmas on a Friday, the 49ers will head to Detroit on Saturday morning. That’s different than their usual routine for games in the Eastern time zone, which is to leave two days before kickoff.
Tomsula said he recently talked to ex-49ers Keena Turner and Tom Rathman, and they noted their 49ers teams usually left Saturday and they went 18-0 on the road from 1988 to 1990.
“That’s the way they did it,” Tomsula said. “So we’re mimicking that.”
Tomsula added the 49ers would use this week’s trip to gauge whether they should alter their routine next year. In that way, he certainly didn’t sound like a coach who would not be around in 2016.