San Francisco wideout Kendrick Bourne posted a video to his Instagram account this week of teammate Kwon Alexander working out with 49ers training staff at the SAP Performance Facility. What makes this video out of the norm is the fact that Alexander is just six weeks removed from a pectoral tear suffered during the 49ers Week 9 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Alexander was placed on Injured Reserve shortly after and was expected to miss the remainder of the year.
Bourne's video brought much speculation that the linebacker could, in fact, make a return after the regular season. In the video that features Alexander participating in pass catching drills, Bourne wrote, "Kwon said he's coming back."
Despite the progress revealed in the social video, Alexander's injury generally takes six months to recover from. While he's less than two months into his rehab, Kyle Shanahan did not rule out the option of an earlier than expected return.
"He can come back," Shanahan said. "It would be awesome if he could, but it's a really big injury and that would be down the road. So there would be an outside chance out of it, but we haven't ruled it out."
Alexander quickly established himself as a vocal leader and a tone-setter among San Francisco's defense. The linebacker tallied 34 tackles, two tackles for loss, four passes defended, a forced fumble, a quarterback hit and split a sack in his eight games in San Francisco and proved to be one of the 49ers best players on defense.
"Kwon is the same as Richard Sherman," Shanahan continued. "Kwon thought he could've come back the next week. They're made of the right stuff. When you think that way, even though it's your mind, sometimes your body will follow. So we won't rule it out, but it's a long shot and it's not anytime soon."
Teams are allowed two players to return from Injured Reserve. The team activated Kentavius Street on Saturday, allowing one additional player to return to the active roster this year.
In other injury news, Sherman (hamstring) and K'Waun Williams (concussion) returned to practice on Tuesday as both corners missed the Week 15 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Guard Mike Person was limited during Tuesday's session while dealing with a sore neck.
Dee Ford will not practice for the second-straight week while dealing with a hamstring injury. It's likely the 49ers won't see Ford until after Week 17 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Jullian Taylor (elbow) and Jaquiski Tartt (ribs) were also not on hand during the team's first practice while working through their respective injuries. According to the head coach, the team will reassess Tartt ahead of Wednesday's session.
"(Tartt's) just day-to-day. Just waiting on his ribs to recover," Shanahan said. "Feels a lot closer than last week. But not good enough to go today. Will give him a chance (on Wednesday)."