One member of the San Francisco 49ers appears to be making some progress in his injury recovery. Wide receiver DeAndre Smelter, currently on the NFI list as he recovers from a 2014 torn ACL, was spotted running routes and catching passes during the 49ers Friday practice session. Smelter is not allowed to practice with the team, but running routes with trainers as part of his rehab process is allowed.
Smelter is one of the most recent additions to the team's "ACL All Stars", having torn his ACL toward the end of Georgia Tech's 2014 season. The 49ers used a fourth round pick on Smelter, and placed him on the Active/NFI list to start training camp. He was transferred to the Reserve/NFI list during roster cuts, and will remain on the list through at least the sixth week of the season.
When the 49ers first selected Smelter, he was doing straight-line running. Trent Baalke acknowledged back in July that Smelter might not be ready for camp, but that he might "be ready at some point in the immediate future after that." There is really no rush on getting him back, but it will be interesting to see if he gets some kind of opportunity in November or December.
I think we see the team activate his practice window, but it is hard to tell if he will get an opportunity to join the 53-man roster. The team did not use a lot of wide receivers in Week 1, but it is possible that philosophy could change week-to-week. If they can find success without getting too deep into their wide receivers, it might make it easier to wait through the whole year. If he's looking good during that practice window, maybe he shows enough to force their hand.