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49ers await returns of Daniel Kilgore, DeAndre Smelter, Jerome Simpson

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The San Francisco 49ers have reached a point where they can start to welcome back three players to the 53-man roster. How will that shake out in the coming weeks? We break it down.

The San Francisco are through Week 6 of the 2015 NFL season, which means we have reached an important marker on the calendar. This marks the first date upon which the 49ers can bring PUP and NFI players back to practice. Center Daniel Kilgore is currently on the Reserve/PUP list, and WR DeAndre Smelter is currently on the Reserve/NFI list. Additionally, the 49ers can bring back Jerome Simpson from the suspended list.

Jim Tomsula addressed Simpson's status in his Monday press conference. Tomsula said the team has requested a one-game roster exemption. The team faces a short week before the Seattle Seahawks come to town, so it makes sense to get the exemption. As I understand it, that would allow Simpson to practice with the team, but not play. Simpson has been able to workout and attend meetings during the six-game suspension, but he could not be on the practice field. His return would add a second speed threat alongside Torrey Smith. Of course, the 49ers don't exactly use a ton of receivers, so I'm not entirely sure how many snaps he would get.

We broke down the injury list rules in the week leading up to training camp. You can read the full rundown here, but I'll provide a brief rundown of how they work for both players. For either list, starting this week, the 49ers have a six-week window to return the players to practice. If they do not return to practice in those six weeks, they must be placed on season-ending injured reserve, or release. Once the player returns to practice, the team then has a three-week window to activate the player to the 53-man roster. If they are not activated in that time, they must either go on season-ending injury reserve, or be released.

Kilgore has been seen practicing snaps with Colin Kaepernick in pre-game workouts. That does not count as "practice" so it has been allowed. Last week, he addressed his status and when he might return from the PUP list. He said he did not anticipate joining the 53-man roster this week against the Seahawks. The 49ers face the Seahawks on a short week, and Kilgore has not been able to take part in practice to date. He can return to practice this week, but it could be at least a couple weeks before we see him activated to the 53-man roster.

Smelter has been running routes and getting work in, but unlike Kilgore, I would be surprised if he was activated off the NFI list this season. The team can activate his practice window over the next six weeks, and I imagine they do that. The last couple years with the red-shirt players, the 49ers have activated the practice window toward the end of the six weeks, and then placed the player on season-ending injured reserve after the three weeks. It gives the player some time to take part in walkthroughs and get some practice time in. Again, the 49ers have not gone with a lot of wide receivers this season, so it does not make a lot of sense to activate him. On Sunday, Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin started, and Quinton Patton was the No. 3 receiver. DeAndrew White got a single snap as the fourth receiver, but that was it. I cannot see any reason for activating Smelter, particularly once Simpson is activated.