While Glenn Dorsey was getting treatment on his injured right hamstring Tuesday afternoon, Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial were getting extra coaching on the practice field.
Along with receiver Mario Manningham and cornerback Eric Wright, the two rookies went through their first practice of 2013 as they try to cram in an offseason's worth of practice into a few short sessions. How long will it take for them to be game-ready?
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he wasn't sure. "We're confident that one or two of them will be ready soon," he said on KNBR radio. "Just don't know how soon yet."
It seems as if there's a greater need for Dial, a nose tackle, than Carradine, who will play defensive end for the 49ers.
The team's starting nose tackle, Dorsey, went down with a right hamstring injury in the first quarter of Sunday's win over the Cardinals and had to be helped off the field. "It felt pretty bad when I did it," Dorsey said today.
But he said the MRI taken on Monday revealed the damage was not as bad as initially feared. He worked out with strength and conditioning coach Mark Uyeyama this afternoon and afterward had only a slight limp. "I'll be alright," he said. "I hope so."
If Dorsey can't play, Tony Jerod-Eddie would start at nose tackle. The other three active linemen are Justin Smith, Ray McDonald and Demarcus Dobbs. None of them practiced at nose tackle this offseason, but Dobbs said all three are capable of playing it if need be. "We've got a group of guys in our (defensive line meeting) room that can play every position," he said.
The 49ers also lean heavily on their nickel defense, in which the nose tackle leaves the game in favor of a fifth defensive back. Though not ideal, the 49ers would be capable of playing most of the game out of that defense.
Dial played both defensive tackle and nose tackle in Alabama's 3-4 defense, and there's a need for the 320 pounder as a backup at nose tackle. Both he and Carradine have been in every defensive meeting since they were drafted in April.
But Fangio said there's no substitute for being on the field. "They're way behind," he said. "But we're going to have to go full-speed ahead."
-- Matt Barrows