Tune in late to Thursday's preseason finale and you'll probably miss your favorite 49er. The team's most prominent players - Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, etc. - aren't likely to play at all in the game and the rest of the starters will go a series or two. The fourth preseason game is designed for two things: 1.) firming up the bottom of the roster and 2.) avoiding injuries. On that note, here's where things stand with the team's injured players:
LB Ahmad Brooks
Injury: lacerated kidney suffered Aug. 6
Prognosis: No one wants a lacerated kidney (or a lacerated anything for that matter) but Brooks' appears to have been on the light end of the scale. He's avoided all contact since it occurred but recently has been working out with strength and conditioning coaches. Singletary has said that the injury is not expected to linger into the regular season. It will be interesting to see if Brooks rejoins practice the week before the opener in Seattle.
WR Michael Crabtree
Injury: neck strain suffered Aug. 11
Prognosis: Crabtree looked to have gotten past the injury when he returned to practice last week and made it through several full sessions. But he said the neck was stiff while warming up for Saturday's game in Oakland, and Singletary decided to hold him out. Crabtree has yet to play in a preseason game for the 49ers. Singletary said he expects the receiver to practice this week but didn't commit to playing him in Thursday's finale.
TE Tony Curtis
Injury: quadriceps strain suffered Aug. 24 (?)
Prognosis: Curtis did not play against the Raiders and has fallen behind rookie Nate Byham to be the No. 3 tight end.
TE Vernon Davis
Injury: knee sprain suffered Aug. 15
Prognosis: Davis has been running around on the knee for nearly two weeks but hasn't gone through a full practice. You get the sense that if this were the postseason, he wouldn't have missed more than a day or two. Singletary said that Davis was in "a pretty good place right now. He could possibly return sometime this week," he said. "I don't know that for sure. I haven't really talked in detail with Fergy (trainer Jeff Ferguson) about that yet."
C Eric Heitmann
Injury: broken fibula suffered Aug. 9
Prognosis: The fibula is the smaller of the two bones in the lower leg and the quicker to heal. What's more, the bone was not displaced and there was no ligament damage. Heitmann's original prognosis was 6-8 weeks, so start looking for him to reappear - at practice, at least - toward the end of September.
CB Will James
Injury: sprained ankle suffered Aug. 15
Prognosis: James' original prognosis was 4-6 weeks, and James is not expected to miss many regular season games if he lands on a regular-season roster. ***Update*** James was walking around without a limp this morning.
CB Shawntae Spencer
Injury: groin injury suffered Aug. 24
Prognosis: Spencer missed the Raiders game and Tarell Brown started in his place. Spencer was running around on a side field last week and the injury does not appear serious.
LB Matt Wilhelm
Injury: headaches that began Aug. 25
Prognosis: Wilhelm did not play against the Raiders.
WR Kyle Williams
Injury: big toe sprain suffered Aug. 15
Prognosis: Williams, the presumptive first choice at punt returner, was walking around in a boot last week. He will not return to practice this week, Singletary said. "He's looking pretty good, but we're just going to continue to go from week to week, and wherever it ends up, we'll just have to look at it then," he said. ***Update*** Williams is out of his boot and it walking around without a limp.
-- Matt Barrows