49ers Blog and Q&A

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

October 11, 2013
McDonald set to practice; anatomy lesson on why he'll play


Ray McDonald was in uniform for the start of today's practice today after missing the two previous sessions this week. The 49ers left defensive end tore a bicep tendon in his right arm in the third quarter of Sunday's win over the Texans. He was in the weight room as his teammates began Wednesday and Thursday sessions. McDonald has said he will play in Sunday's game against the Cardinals, and that plan appears to be be in place.

A brief anatomy lesson from Matt Barrows, bsMD: It's called a biceps for a reason. The top of the muscle attaches to the shoulder in two places. That means the arm can still function as long as one of the connections remains attached. The arm can't do everything normally - turning the hand from palm-down to palm-up, for example. But for a defensive end, the function should be close to normal.

The concern is that the muscle could atrophy a bit. And that probably explains why McDonald has been doing upper-body workouts all week: He's making sure he retains the strength in that arm.

- 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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