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The 49ers had a “bonus” practice on Tuesday, which saw key returns and absences on both sides of the ball.
Joe Staley had been practicing for the week-and-a-half in limited fashion, but clearly wasn’t where he needed to be in order to face the Carolina Panthers or Arizona Cardinals on a short week. He was practicing for the 49ers again on Tuesday, along with Mike McGlinchey and Kyle Juszczyk, who were involved for their first time since being injured back in Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns.
The long layoff from the Thursday night game against the Cardinals to the Monday night game coming up against the Seattle Seahawks provided the opportunity for this Tuesday practice, which is separate from the regular slate of practices. That schedule will resume on Thursday through Saturday, plus a likely Sunday walkthrough.
Also joining practice was tight end Garrett Celek, who is beginning his 21-day practice window while remaining on the Physically Unable to Perform list, as the 49ers announced earlier in the day. Linebacker Christian Sam was also involved in practice. He replaced the promoted Elijah Lee on the practice squad following the Lee-for-Kwon Alexander swap this morning, when the 49ers placed Alexander on season-ending injured reserve.
There were notable absences practice, with George Kittle leading the list. Kittle suffered a knee injury against the Cardinals and was not present at the start of practice, while fellow tight end Levine Toilolo was off doing sideline work on the far side of the practice field. Toilolo was joined by Ahkello Witherspoon, who is expected to join Staley, McGlinchey and Juszczyk in returning against the Seahawks, as well as Jalen Hurd.
The sighting of Hurd could bode well for his potential injured reserve return in Week 13. He’d be eligible to begin practicing for the 49ers next week. If he does practice, it would indicate a IR-return designation.
Again, this is technically an additional practice, so the seriousness of absences like Kittle and Witherspoon’s are tough to gauge at this point. If they continue on Thursday, there may be more cause for concern.