The 49ers suffered their second significant injury of the spring this week when cornerback B.J. Tucker went down with what appears to be a torn pectoral muscle.
Coach Mike Nolan said Thursday that the two-year veteran has yet to have an MRI but that the situation "doesn't look that good." The injury occurred in Tuesday's practice when Tucker stuck out his arm to stop an opposing player.
The Wisconsin product, who was born in Sierra Leone, had been practicing as the team's third cornerback because two other players, Shawntae Spencer (bone spurs) and Donald Strickland (knee contusion) had been out with injuries. Tucker's injury opens the door for a couple of youngsters, rookie Tarell Brown and second-year player Marcus Hudson, to step into a more important role on the defense.
The 49ers previously had lost defensive end Melvin Oliver to a torn knee ligament.
The team's recent OTAs are supposed to be noncontact, but Thursday's session showed that when 22 large men are thrown into a confined space, they are anything but.
On one play, linebacker Tully Banta-Cain was dropping back into coverage when he was undercut by cornerback Walt Harris, who was moving forward. Banta-Cain got up slowly but did not appear to be injured. On another play, rookie defensive backs Dashon Goldson and Sammy Joseph collided in the back of the end zone while trying to break up a Shaun Hill pass.
Banta-Cain might be tipping the scales at close to 280 pounds, but he showed Thursday he could move that weight around. On a third-and-goal play, he flushed quarterback Alex Smith - no slow poke - out of bounds, forcing Smith to throw away the ball.
Maurice Hicks, Brandon Williams, Arnaz Battle, Bryan Gilmore and Jason Hill alternated kickoff returns. Hicks, last year's return-man, got the most repetitions.
The 49ers went through some of their practice in a 4-3 defense. On one play, the defensive ends were rookie Ray McDonald and Ronnie Fields while Bryant Young and Aubrayo Franklin lined up at defensive tackle.
Tight end Delanie Walker missed Thursday's session for what Nolan described as "personal issues off the field." The team did not specify what those issues were.
- Matthew Barrows