San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula conducted a conference call with the media on Monday, and he had an injury update that included some notable names. Most important is the return of three key players. Michael Wilhoite is expected to be activated off the NFI list this week, and Bruce Ellington should return to practice for the first time in several weeks.
Tomsula also said Glenn Dorsey will return after missing Sunday's game with a muscle strain. He did mention that Desmond Bishop injured his hand and will undergo a "little" procedure on his hand, but did not have specifics on how long he would be out. As to Tank Carradine's leg strain on Sunday, Tomsula said it was something he could work through in practice. Finally, Kenneth Acker took a hit to his hand, but Tomsula suggested it was just a ding and not something that would be a problem.
Wilhoite's activation at some point this week does not mean he will be right back in team drills and playing. Tomsula said they will do what they have done thus far and take their time working Wilhoite back in the mix. My guess is we see him primarily in individual drills this week, and work his way back into team drills the following week. I suppose it could happen sooner rather than later, but we'll see what the week of practice begins.
Ellington has been working back from a muscle strain, and has been unable to take part in return work during that time. Jarryd Hayne has emerged as an explosive presence during that time, and Ellington is officially behind the eight ball in that competition. The 49ers can find plenty of ways to mix Ellington into the offensive mix, but I am wondering if Hayne has officially taken over as the No. 1 kick and punt returner.
The Bishop news does not bode well for his roster chances. Tomsula said it involved a bone near his thumb, but did not go into detail as to how much time he would miss. Someone did ask if he could play through it, but he said no. With his absence and Philip Wheeler out another week, according to Tomsula, it opens the door even further for Shayne Skov to potentially secure a roster spot. Right now, NaVorro Bowman, Nick Moody and Michael Wilhoite (assuming he is activated off the NFI list soon) would be the top three linebackers. The remaining group includes Skov, Wheeler, Bishop and Steve Beauharnais. With Bishop out an undetermined amount of time, and Wheeler still dealing with his muscle strain, Skov has a big opportunity in front of him.