San Francisco 49ers

Vernon Davis no longer limping; 49ers waive Cleveland, welcome back Josh Johnson

SANTA CLARA -- A week ago, Vernon Davis needed crutches to get around. Today the 49ers tight end was moving without a limp, a sign that his injured ankle is healing rapidly and that he has a good chance of being on the field Sunday against the Eagles.

“I’m feeling great,” Davis said at his locker. “This is going to be a good week for me.”

Davis in fact is progressing so well that the 49ers released rookie tight end Asante Cleveland, called up from the practice squad last week, and re-signed quarterback Josh Johnson. The team released Johnson on Saturday to make room for Cleveland.

Davis’ ankle injury, plus a knee injury to fellow tight end Vance McDonald, prompted the 49ers to go with an uncharacteric wide receiver-heavy offense against the Cardinals. It worked early on as San Franncisco got out to a 14-6 lead.

But the 49ers sputtered in the second half and, without their top two tight ends, they were unable to turn to their power-running game. Frank Gore had one carry in the second half and was too upset to talk to reporters after the game. Gore, through a public relations staffer, today said he would speak later in the week.

Meanwhile, the 49ers are 0-4 since 2011 in games in which Davis is either injured or misses entirely because of injury. He said he knew Saturday that his ankle hadn’t healed in time to play against the Cardinals.

“I could really tell right then and there that it was going to be a little struggle, wasn’t quite ready,” he said. “So coaches and the trainers they told me to sit this one out.”

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