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Vernon Davis ‘On Course’ to Play Sunday

Posted Dec 28, 2012

A look at Vernon Davis’ season statistics reveal 40 catches for 543 yards and five touchdowns this year. While they may not be the gaudy numbers most expect from Davis through 15 games, he’s more concerned with the most important stat of all: wins.

The 49ers have 10 of them this year and are atop the NFC West with their 10-4-1 record. A victory on Sunday against the Cardinals would wrap up the club’s first consecutive division titles since the 1994-95 seasons.

Davis was a limited participant in Thursday’s and Friday’s practice sessions after suffering a concussion in last week’s contest at Seattle. On Friday, Coach Jim Harbaugh said signs point to Davis being able to return to the field on Sunday.

“He’s on course, yes,” Harbaugh said.

Davis has been practicing in a non-contact jersey this week and still has another battery of tests to complete Saturday before he can return to full-contact action. While some might want to rest Davis for the playoffs, he’s already chomping at the bit to return in Week 17.

“I feel all right,” Davis said. “I’m thinking I’ve got to be ready for this game, that’s how I’m approaching it. I don’t like sitting back and watching everybody play. I like to get out there and play, because that’s what I love to do. I love playing football.”

Like true team-first player he is, Davis still looks at 2012 as one of the best seasons of his seven-year career despite the dip from his average numbers. As long as he continues to be a key blocker in the running game and veteran leader, he’s happy with his role on the team.

“I look at the season as one of the best because we’re winning, just like last year,” Davis said. “I look at last year as one of my best seasons, even though my stats weren’t close to what they were in the past when I was a starter in the Pro Bowl.

“But I still look at it as one of my best seasons, because at the end of the day, it’s all about contributing and doing whatever I can to help my team win. … I think my time will come when I’m getting eight or nine balls a game, but right now it’s one of my best seasons.”

Davis would be a huge weapon for a passing game that will be without Mario Manningham for the rest of the season, as the veteran wideout was officially placed on the Injured Reserve list Friday. With another spot opened on the 53-man roster, the 49ers elected to promote defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie from the practice squad.

Jerod-Eddie, an undrafted rookie out of Texas A&M, is listed at 6-foot-5, 301 pounds and could help shore up a defensive line unit that will likely be without Justin Smith for a second straight game. Harbaugh said there’s a good chance Jerod-Eddie will suit up for the game, as he also hinted Friday that backup defensive tackle Will Tukuafu could be unavailable as he works through a neck injury.

“We felt that’s where we needed the depth this game,” Harbaugh said of the defensive line. “(Jerod-Eddie)’s been a big body, been strong and has a good understanding of our system. He gets an opportunity, so I’m excited to watch him compete on Sunday.”

After watching the 49ers wrap up their final regular-season practice of the year on Friday, Harbaugh had time to visit with dozens of members of the Football Camp for the Stars, taking photos and signing autographs with the campers.

“Great visitors today,” Harbaugh said. “Nice experience for us and the youngsters.”

Harbaugh and the 49ers also welcomed former Major League Baseball manager Tony LaRussa to the practice facility, something Harbaugh especially enjoyed. The 49ers coach has known LaRussa, who managed the Oakland A’s from 1986-95, for about three years and said the two talk regularly.

“From his experience, his knowledge, it’s been pretty much a one-way street,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve been the one doing the learning. He’s been great. We probably talk, if not every week, every other week. He follows our team closely and he’s somebody that I routinely ask advice.”

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