49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

August 18, 2008
It's JTO in Chicago; Nolan still mum on season starter

Mike Nolan named J.T. O'Sullivan the starter for Thursday's game against Chicago, explaining that he didn't want to reshuffle the quarterback rotation order due to the short practice week. That, of course, means that O'Sullivan will have started all three of the team's preseason games, including the third game, which most teams consider the most crucial tune-up for the season. With that in mind, Nolan was asked why fans shouldn't assume that O'Sullivan has already won the starting job? His response: "I'd say it's a short week and we're staying consistent with our plan."

Jonas Jennings has a broken knuckle on his right hand. The team's starting right tackle had surgery today and will miss Thursday's game. Nolan said Jennings should be back for the finale against San Diego. "It's not serious enough to keep him out of anything further." Nolan said he wasn't sure if Jennings would wear a cast on the hand, something that would affect how he's able to engage pass rushers. "I'll be curious to see what it looks like because I'll certainly have some opinions on what it is," Nolan said. "Sometimes -- an offensive lineman, it's very restrictive if you can't use that hand very much. I believe -- I've been led to believe -- that what will be on there will be functional."

Nolan said the first-team units will play the first half, just as they did against the Packers. Those who are out for the game include: WRs Bryant Johnson (hamstring), Arnaz Battle (hamstring) and Ashley Lelie (calf); G Davis Baas (pectoral), RB Michael Robinson (knee) and S Lewis Baker (thigh).

Nolan said there was a chance that Baas, who is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation, could be back for the fourth and final preseason game. However, Nolan also said it could be a case where Baas is back at practice but not yet ready to play in a game.

Robinson's and Lelie's rehabilitation included sprinting today, a sign that they are close to returning to practice. Fourth-string quarterback Kyle Wright injured his knee. How? Not sure. The team is hoping that CB Tarell Brown (hip) will be ready to play by Thursday.

FYI: The Bears have announced their regular-season starter. Kyle Orton will start Thursday night and when the regular season begins. Man, it took them long enough to decide ....

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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