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Vernon Davis returns to 49ers practice in preparation for Rams

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49ers tight end Vernon Davis was back at practice, albeit in a non-contact jersey. This still bodes well for him potentially playing on Monday.

Ezra Shaw

The San Francisco 49ers welcomed tight end Vernon Davis back to practice Thursday afternoon. Davis suffered a back injury in Week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles. He sat out all three practice sessions last week, and after being listed as questionable, was inactive against the Kansas City Chiefs. This week, he wore a blue non-contact jersey to Thursday's practice session, and likely will be listed as "limited participation" for the day.

His return on Thursday does not guarantee he will play on Monday, but getting back on the practice field is a huge step forward. If Davis can play, even if at less than 100 percent, he adds a notable dimension to this offense. Having him coming off the line or in the slot can soften up the opposing defense, opening up spots for the other pass catchers to get open. It is hard to tell whether or not he would be more of a decoy this week, but having him on the field is better than having him sidelined.

Prior to last week, the 49ers had lost the five or six games in which Vernon Davis was inactive. Last week against the Chiefs marked their first win without him. Hopefully the 49ers don't need to figure out whether they can beat the Rams without him this week.