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Jimmie Ward talks foot injuries, nickel back role, Jaquiski Tartt

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The San Francisco 49ers players returned to the practice facility on Monday, and had some media availability following Jim Tomsula's press conference. Defensive back Jimmie Ward was one of the players to speak with the media. The video above comes courtesy of Niners Digest's Chris Biderman.

The 49ers nickel back talked a bit about his nickel back role, and some of the skills of the job compared to outside cornerbacks. The most intriguing part of the discussion though, was about foot injuries. Ward dealt with foot injuries last year, first prior to the 2014 NFL Draft, and then midway through the 2014 season. Carlos Hyde is dealing with a foot injury that has led to the 49ers resting him over the last three weeks. He is opting for rest at this point, but there is no word yet on when he will return.

Jim Tomsula said Hyde remains day-to-day, and the team will continue monitoring him this week. Tomsula said Hyde is doing conditioning work, but is "not running a ton[.]" My guess is the decision to add Travaris Cadet likely means at least one more week out for Hyde. Given the importance of feet to a running back (and I suppose all football players!), I'd much rather they handle this thing more conservative than aggressive. Even if the 49ers were in the playoff hunt, I'd suggest the same thing. The big picture is what's important here. If that means missing a couple more games, so be it.

On bye week helping get fresh:

I think it was really important for us to go off. I got to rest my body, I'm pretty sure the rest of the guys did, too. I got a massage, I got to see family, I got rest, got to take my mind off football a little bit. Can't take it off because you got to finish the rest of the season.

On good timing of bye:

Yea, exactly. Like when I walked in the building today, I felt good. See smiles on some of the rest of the guys' faces, a good vibe.

On playing through ankle injury in Week 9:

Yea, the injuries you know, it's football, nobody's 100 percent in football. End up rolling, actually, both of my ankles. End up taping one of them up, finish the game, take a couple pain pills, and I was ready to go.

On his performance:

I think I played somewhat well. I always think about turnovers though. If I don't get a turnover, I'm not gonna grade myself high. But I think I did my job enough so we could get the win.

On nickel role being harder on ankles than safety:

Yes, I think nickel you probably do more moving than cornerback, too. I feel like nickel is somewhat kind of easy if you know where your help's at. You just know what the wide receiver is going to do before the play, if you watch a lot of film. But other than that, it is a lot harder and a lot more movement than the safety position.

On difficulty of his position with Seahawks spreading out offense, but also using strong run game:

Basically, it's just I gotta make sure I play the run. Marshawn's a good back, their second string is a good back. They got a good wide receiver, 89, in the slot. He's pretty good. So I just gotta be very aware, and do a lot of jobs.

On practicing outside:

Yea, I've played a little cornerback in practice. Cornerback's cool, it's nice. I'm kind of more physical than that though. I'm saying, nothing wrong with our cornerbacks. They play physical. Cromartie, he was out there giving it his all. But, it's just, I don't know, I like to tackle, I like more tackles. Even when I'm out at cornerback, I find myself in on more tackles.

On Jaquiski Tartt's transition to starter:

Oh, he's doing great. He's taking advantage of his opportunity, laying big hits. I'm pretty sure when we played at Arizona, they're gonna remember that hit, he hit their number one wide receiver crossing. He ended up catching the ball still, touchdown, two point conversion, but I'm pretty sure he felt his presence. And Julio, he felt his presence too.

On Tartt being a younger version of Kam Chancellor:

Kam Chancellor, he's one of the best, but I feel like Jaquiski, he's gonna make it on his own. It's not gonna be cancelling (not sure if he might have said Chancellor here) no more, it's just gonna be Jaquiski Tartt.

On if he and Tartt have on-field chemistry given their history:

Well, I'm not able to get back there at safety with him, but a lot of times I know that if he doesn't make a certain check, I still know the check, being in the program for my second year now. So, he helps me, I help him. Little chemistry there, from the old days.

On defensive backs coach Tim Lewis:

I feel like he's doing good. He's always on everybody about the certain mistakes. Like to me, he always gets on me about the same thing, he never lets off. That's what you're supposed to do as a coach. You gotta always have corrections, you gotta do it on the run. He tries his best ability, because each player's got something new that he needs to work on each week, again, preparing for the game. He's doing a real good job to have a group of young players. The young DBs.

On Lewis' personality:

He loosens up sometimes, but game time, he's pretty on it. Practice sometimes he's on it, it just depends. But just like I said, repeated mistakes he gets angry about that, but what coach wouldn't. But after a while, it gets close to game time, when it's rolling inside the game, he'll calm down, he'll kind of let us play. So that's what I like about him.

On if he faced Seattle last year:

No I did not play against Seattle last year (injured).

On Hyde's foot injury:

See, I wasn't aware my foot was broken. What he's going through, what I went through before the draft, they found out at the Combine. The foot didn't hurt to me. It probably ached, but I was playing in the cold. In the Illinois, it's cold there. We didn't have any indoor, so I didn't know if my foot was just aching, swelling. I found out it was fractured, same thing as Carlos Hyde. He's probably thinking in his head, I don't want a screw, cuz you know I ended up having to get surgery midway through the season, and if he ends up, they don't pick the right sized screw, well anything can happen. It don't matter the size of the screw. Anything can happen, it's football. But he's probably just thinking, OK, I want to let it heal. I don't want to put any surgery on my body. That's probably where his head is at. But I don't blame him. I just needed to play now, so I got surgery.