49ers expect Jason Verrett, Jimmie Ward to return to practice ahead of Week 5

Things are still on track for a pair of injured 49ers defensive backs. Cornerback Jason Verrett and free safety Jimmie Ward are both eligible to come off their respective injured lists Wednesday to practice in the lead up to Week 5, and head coach Kyle Shanahan said both players are expected to get back on the field right away.

This is good news for a San Francisco secondary that’s already manning the back end of the NFL’s best defense.

Perhaps the better news though is that neither player suffered any kind of setback that pushed their timeline back beyond the mandatory four weeks off that came with their stints on the injured lists.

Verrett went on PUP at the beginning of training camp to continue his recovery from a torn ACL he suffered in Week 1 last season. There’s a three-week practice window for him that’ll open once he takes the field. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 49ers use up that entire window to ensure Verrett is ready before putting him on the roster.

Ward may be activated sooner. He suffered a hamstring injury in camp and wound up going on IR shortly after he made the 53-man roster. He could conceivably be activated for Week 5 in Carolina, but his fill-in Tashaun Gipson has played well enough that the 49ers can take their time and not force Ward back into action.

Neither player will be activated by simply practicing and neither will show up on the practice report for Week 5. The 49ers have a roster spot open after releasing wide receiver Willie Snead IV, so they could add one of their defensive backs without a corresponding roster move. They have until Saturday to activate either one or both of Verrett and Ward.

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Story originally appeared on Niners Wire