Friday practices are usually is in shorts and helmets only, but the offensive and defensive linemen sported shells today as they finished up their preparation for Arizona.
"It's just for protection for us," said Heitmann. "In the past we have gone just jerseys and shorts, but whenever we do punch drills or pass protection you always run the risk of getting a helmet in the shoulder. So, now we are protected."
There's also been an extension of the use of the black "don't touch" practice jerseys. Reserved usually for quarterbacks, head coach Mike Nolan and the 49ers athletic training staff have decided to put the black jerseys on a few other players as well.
"It's just 'keep your hands off, the guy's banged up,'" said Nolan. "Some guys have bumps or bruises and they get to wrestling after plays, pushing and shoving and so it's just a keep guys off thing."
Linebacker Parys Haralson took a full practice load all week, but is one of those players who sported the black "go easy" jersey this week after injuring his shoulder in the final preseason game. Safety Keith Lewis and receiver Josh Morgan also wore the black jerseys. Both players returned to practice this week after missing time last week due to illnesses.
Safety Michael Lewis was held out of Friday's practice with a sore back, but is probable for Sunday. Tight end Delanie Walker missed practice again with a sore calf, but he too is probable. In fact, Nolan shouldn't have to base any of his inactives on Sunday off of injuries.
From Arizona's injury report, Alan Branch, Gabe Watson and Al Johnson are listed as doubtful. Tight end Jerame Tuman was added to the injury report on Thursday with a hamstring injury and is questionable after not practicing at all on Friday. Tight end Ben Patrick and T Mike Gandy are both probable for the game.
Nolan still hasn't named a starter at wide receiver. He said who starts really could come down to what personnel grouping the 49ers opt to open the game with. The same goes at inside linebacker with Takeo Spikes and Jeff Ulbrich. Both players are expected to split time at the position, and the starter could depend on what package the defense starts out in.
In His Ear
Safety Mark Roman will wear the radio device this Sunday, same as he did during the preseason. Roman said the communication with his secondary coach Vance Joseph takes about 15 seconds.
"It's all business on there. He gives me the personnel and maybe a few alerts," said Roman. "It doesn't take much to get used to it. You get the calls earlier and you start going over the checks earlier in your mind, and you get the calls out faster to the guys."