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49ers expect LaMichael James back by start of regular season

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Jim Harbaugh had some clarification about the status of San Francisco 49ers running back LaMichael James. The team expects him back in time for Week 1!

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Good news on the LaMichael James front. San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh told the media on Wednesday that he expects James to be back in time for the start of the regular season. James is expected to wear a brace on the elbow, although he did not indicate how long the brace would be needed.

This would seem to indicate James is all but assured of earning a spot on the 53-man roster. Prior to the injury, his chances had grown with his return play. When Kendall Hunter was lost to an ACL injury, he seemed pretty much a lock. LMJ's injury last weekend raised some questions about his status, but at this point it seems like the team anticipates having him at their disposal when they head down to face the Dallas Cowboys.

Of course, it is also possible Harbaugh is going to sand-bag a little on this to keep the Cowboys (and potentially the Week 2 Bears) on their toes as we get closer to the season. I don't think that's necessarily the case because LMJ's history indicates a month recovery makes sense. That being said, I am not going to put anything past Coach Harbaugh. For now, we'll keep a close eye on the return options and how they perform in LMJ's absence. Perrish Cox, Bruce Ellington, and Devon Wylie are all in the mix, potentially among several others. We'll see who gets what opportunities the next four weeks.