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Vic Fangio thinks Jimmie Ward likely returning as nickel back, Patrick Willis questionable vs. Rams

49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio discussed the team's injury situation heading into Sunday against the Rams. He provided some details on who might return, and who looks questionable.

Norm Hall

The San Francisco 49ers return to action this weekend, and will start getting some of their injured players back in action. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio met with the media, and he provided updates on some of these players.

He opened with some discussion about the secondary. He indicated that Tramaine Brock and Chris Culliver were up in the air, but Jimmie Ward should probably be fine to play. We can't really assume anything for certain with two practices left, but this is a good sign for Ward. Fangio said Ward would slot back in as the nickel back.

Someone asked what the secondary would look like when everybody was healthy, and Fangio basically said they would mix and match players to work them all in. I am obviously fine with having the extra depth, but it will be interesting to see how the 49ers mix it up each week. Dontae Johnson has shown some solid skill in limited work, so he is one guy in particularly I will be paying attention to when more players return. Johnson is around for the long haul (well, at least the next few years, probably), so hopefully the 49ers continue working him in to build on his development.

Fangio said Patrick Willis is questionable for Sunday at this point. He was limited in practice on Wednesday, and will likely be limited the rest of the week, and then listed as questionable on the final injury report.

Finally, Fangio said that Glenn Dorsey is still a couple weeks away from returning to game action. He is back at practice, but because he is dealing with an arm injury, basic running around is not going to provide an accurate representation of where he stands. As Fangio pointed out, once he gets a chance to engage and shed blockers, the coaches and trainers will then have a better idea of where he stands. Practice does not get as physical as it did during training camp, so it is going to take a little bit of time to get to that point. The 49ers can have him at practice but off the 53-man roster until the Monday after the Giants game. My guess is they take advantage of most of that time.