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Malcolm Smith returning to practice, Sunday starting ILB duo still TBD

The San Francisco 49ers return to practice on Wednesday, and they will be welcoming back some notable players. Reuben Foster’s suspension is over, and he is expected to be a full go at practice. Additionally, Kyle Shanahan announced that Malcolm Smith would be a full participant as well.

Smith missed the first two weeks with a hamstring injury, and until last Friday was a DNP at practice. He got in a limited session on Friday, but was inactive on Sunday. The team signed Terence Garvin last week after Brock Coyle went on injured reserve, but his time might be short if Smith returns to action this weekend.

Shanahan said on Wednesday that Foster appears good to go in his return from the suspension. The big question on Wednesday was who would start next to him. Shanahan said he wouldn’t reveal the plan even if he knew, but he also wanted to be clear that the coaching staff did not know yet the plan for Sunday. They will go through three practices, and then decisions will be made.

Even if Smith is a full participant all week, it feels like Fred Warner has justified a significant role. We could also see some rotation with Smith handling run down work and Warner in for passing down work. I would guess that is how this shakes out when Smith is healthy enough to play.