Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers won't be Reggie Bush's official debut for the San Francisco 49ers, but it might as well be.
The team's offseason free-agent acquisition carried the ball just two times for eight yards before injuring his calf in the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings. After being sidelined for San Francisco's last two games, Bush is ready to return to the lineup.
"The calf injury slowed me down, and so I'm looking forward to get back out there this Sunday," Bush said. "(It's) just being out there with the team and making a difference, making plays when I get the chance and helping my team win a football game."
Not only did Bush not play against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals, but he didn't even join the team on the trip. The training staff opted to keep Bush in the Bay Area to avoid a possible setback from travel and get treatment from the team facility.
Not being able to support his teammates from the sideline was the hardest part for the running back.
"It's tough, losing two games back-to-back like that, in the fashion that we lost in. It's tough losing that way, and I think everyone was frustrated," Bush said. "Everybody is eager to get back on the field to fix it and correct it. Everybody's mind is where it needs to be.
Bush wouldn't go so far as to say he feels completely healthy, but that speaks more to the nature of an NFL season rather than the progress of his calf injury.
"You never feel 100 percent," Bush said. "There are always little injuries here and there. If I'm out there, then I'm playing. I'm giving 110 percent effort."
The running back said he wants to do everything he can to help Colin Kaepernick bounce back from his four-interception performance against the Cardinals. Bush, now into his 10th NFL season, has the versatility to assist the offense both as a playmaker and as a trusted leader of the team.
That will be key against a Packers defense that likes to show many different looks throughout a game.
"Just being where I need to be always," Bush said when asked about how he can assist his quarterback. "Being in his vision. If he needs an outlet, building that chemistry so that he knows if he ever needs a quick outlet that I'll be there.
"And obviously pass blocking. That's going to be important this game with the different blitzes and exotic fronts that Green Bay runs."
Being a productive pass blocker means that Bush is likely to see Packers star linebacker Clay Matthews on numerous occasions. Even though Matthews has moved to middle linebacker, Bush said that he still likes to rush from the edge.
Bush added that Matthews "freelances a little bit" like many of the best players in the league are allowed to do.
"We just always have to be conscious of where he is on the field," Bush said. "He's a huge playmaker for him."
As for special teams, Bush said the calf injury hasn't changed his stance on wanting to be in the mix as a punt returner. The running back hopes to see a few reps in that area on Sunday.
"Oh yeah," Bush said. "For sure. Definitely."