Cornerback Tramaine Brock on Thursday said his big toe was “a little bit sore” after his first practice in more than a month a day earlier.
“I’m going to push through it this week to get the soreness out and be ready for Sunday,” he said.
Brock started the 49ers’ game at Dallas in Week 1 but quickly exited because of a turf toe injury that has kept him on the sideline since then. Perrish Cox entered in his place and has been one of the top cornerbacks in the league. He’s tied with six other players for the league lead with three interceptions and has knocked away another 12 passes.
How the 49ers use Brock when he is ready remains to be seen. One possibility is to move Cox to the nickel position, which he’ll likely play Sunday night in Denver. The team’s regular nickel cornerback, Jimmie Ward, has a quadriceps injury. He didn’t practice on Wednesday and Thursday and is unlikely to play against the Broncos.
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Ward has been picked on at times this season, although he continues to get positive reviews from coaches.
Other possibilities are to sit Cox or Chris Culliver or keep Brock on the bench until there’s an injury.
Still, the 49ers might not face the issue until after next week’s bye. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he wasn’t sure how Brock would react to his first week back at practice.
When asked whether Brock would be in uniform for the Broncos game, Fangio said: “We haven’t decided that. We’ll have to see what his level of health is and then go from there.”
Et cetera – Defensive end Justin Smith returned to practice after having Wednesday off. Linebacker Patrick Willis (toe), guard Mike Iupati (concussion) and Ward were the only 49ers who didn’t practice.
▪ Offensive tackle Anthony Davis (knee, ankle) has been limited in practice this week. If he plays Sunday, he’ll line up often against Denver’s Von Miller, who’s tied for third in the NFL with six sacks.
▪ Fangio on Thursday wore his Giants cap that Willie Mays signed when the Hall of Famer visited 49ers headquarters two years ago. Fangio, who grew up in Pennsylvania, has admitted to being a Phillies fan but was thrilled to meet Mays.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.