San Francisco 49ers running back LaMichael James has been practicing in a blue non-contact jersey this week, and Matt Maiocco's latest report provides even more optimism about LMJ's impending return. James is apparently no longer wearing the brace for his dislocated right elbow, and feels good to play.
James suffered the dislocation on July 27, and his quick return seems to be expected for him. He suffered a similar injury with Oregon in 2011, and in high school. The 2011 injury cost him two games, while the high school injury reportedly did not cost him a game. LMJ will not play this Sunday against the Denver Broncos, but he thinks he can get some action in either of the following two games. Given the recovery timelines on his previous two injuries, that is not surprising. Coach Harbaugh had said he expected LMJ back for Week 1, but he also said the running back had told him he could be back sooner.
James has been getting running, receiving and return work in this week. Bruce Ellington and Devon Wylie have been the primary guys in his place. Ellington has handled punt return work, but his one miscue against the Ravens was muffing a punt return. I imagine Ellington will get some more opportunities on Sunday, but LMJ would seem to remain the front-runner for the job.