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Jimmie Ward, Aaron Lynch, Kendall Hunter return to 49ers practice

The San Francisco 49ers welcomed back some players to team drills. Jimmie Ward, Aaron Lynch and Kendall Hunter have been rehabbing and doing individual drills. We break down the impact on playing time at their respective positions.

The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their Tuesday practice, and we have some good news. Matt Barrows tweeted that running back Kendall Hunter, outside linebacker Aaron Lynch and defensive back Jimmie Ward all return to team drills. One bit of bad news was that defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey missed practice with a "minor muscle strain".

Hunter, Lynch and Ward have been doing individual drills for much of camp, but have sat out team drills, and did not travel with the team to Houston for the preseason opener. I imagine Jim Tomsula will explain their availability for this Sunday when he meets with the media later this week.

Hunter's return makes for an interesting decision at the running back position. Carlos Hyde is starting, but after that, there are a lot of preseason snaps to split up. Reggie Bush sat out the preseason opener, and his status for the Cowboys game is up in the air. Kendall Gaskins will still get mop-up duty, but it will decrease a bit.

The 49ers have been fairly slim at outside linebacker following the release of Aldon Smith. Eli Harold got the most snaps on Saturday, with Corey Lemonier not too far behind him. Marcus Rush was next, followed by Shawn Lemon and then Ahmad Brooks. The return of Lynch could very well relegate Shawn Lemon to some special teams snaps. Rush has reportedly had a solid camp, so his defensive snap count will be something to watch.

Ward is competing for the nickel slot role, which puts him up against Tramaine Brock for the slot role, and Dontae Johnson for the overall third cornerback role. Mylan Hicks would likely see the biggest hit to his preseason playing time with the return of Ward.