San Francisco 49ers

49ers notes: Starting cornerbacks still a mystery

Denver tight end James Casey (80) is hit by 49ers cornerback Kenneth Acker (20) and Corey Lemonier (96) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, in Denver.
Denver tight end James Casey (80) is hit by 49ers cornerback Kenneth Acker (20) and Corey Lemonier (96) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, in Denver. The Associated Press

Coach Jim Tomsula was not as forthcoming Tuesday about the 49ers’ starters at cornerback as he was about the offensive line, and the answer probably won’t be revealed in Thursday’s exhibition finale against San Diego.

That’s because Tramaine Brock is slated to start at one spot when the regular season begins but is not expected to play Thursday. Brock suffered a hamstring “tinge” during practice last week in Colorado and missed Saturday’s game against the Denver Broncos. He was on the field for warmups Tuesday, but Tomsula said the team would be cautious with him.

“Yeah, we’re not going to talk as in depth there,” he said of the cornerback situation. “T-Brock – we feel like everything is going to be great there, but we’re still holding him (back). So I won’t get into that conversation much.”

Candidates to start opposite Brock include youngsters Kenneth Acker, Keith Reaser and Dontae Johnson and veteran Shareece Wright.

Acker, who sat out his rookie season last year because of a foot injury, stood out Saturday when he intercepted a Peyton Manning pass in the end zone and later broke up a Manning pass at the goal line. He also made a gaffe after his interception by tossing away the ball in celebration before he had been touched down by an opponent. He said he got plenty of ribbing when he reached the sideline.

“That’s OK. I’ve got pretty thick skin,” he said.

Dockett’s rib – Defensive lineman Darnell Dockett suffered a rib injury Saturday, but it’s not expected to sideline him in the regular season.

On Monday, Dockett, 34, posted an image to social media showing him receiving treatment to the right side of his rib cage. He called it a “cracked rib,” but Tomsula said there was no fracture and the injury was related to cartilage in the rib cage.

Dockett played 12 snaps against the Broncos, mostly at left defensive tackle, and was credited with a batted-down pass. He probably won’t play in the exhibition finale but might have been held out anyway because of his veteran status.

Dockett, expected to be used in the nickel defense, did not play last season with the Arizona Cardinals after sustaining an ACL injury in August.

Et cetera – Tomsula said defensive end Lawrence Okoye was waived Monday instead of during final cuts Saturday to give him a better shot at catching on with another team. Okoye didn’t play American football until 2013. “What he’s done in three years, or 21/2 years, is remarkable,” Tomsula said.

▪ Wide receiver Torrey Smith (knee), Brock (hamstring) and linebacker Philip Wheeler (leg) participated in individual drills Tuesday. Smith will not play Thursday.

▪ Tight end Vance McDonald (ankle) did not practice. He walked in the locker room without a protective boot or a limp, and the team hopes he will be ready for the season opener Sept. 14 against the Minnesota Vikings.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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