49ers' Trent Williams returns to limited practice before Cowboys clash

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49ers' Williams returns to limited practice before Cowboys clash originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers fans everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief, as Trent Williams has made his return to practice.

The nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle has missed practice since he injured his elbow in the 49ers’ Week 17 win over the Houston Texans. Williams was a game-time decision prior to the club’s Week 18 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, but Kyle Shanahan reported after the game that the veteran lineman was not healthy enough to play.

“Trent is as much of a soldier as we have on our team,” Shanahan said on Monday. “He wasn’t going to be in good enough shape to protect himself or the quarterback in the game. I know it was tough on him, but I think he was as excited as anyone after we won. Because he is going to do everything he can and I think he just needs seven more days.”

Williams was seen practicing blocking schemes with fellow All Pro George Kittle at practice on Thursday, which is a good sign that he will be available to play in Sunday's wild-card matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. While he will likely be limited much of the week in practice, his participation in practice is a very good sign for the 49ers

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The 49ers' offensive line kept quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo well protected in Los Angeles, only allowing seven total pressures - two sacks, one hit, and four hurries. Colton McKivitz, who stood in for Williams, did a commendable job but was responsible for both sacks and two hurries. 

Williams is not only valuable in pass protection. The 33-year old tackle is in incredibly important to Shanahan's run scheme, and is scored as the best offensive lineman in the league in run blocking by Pro Football Focus, with a score of 98.5 out of 100. 

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