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Good News at Receiver


The 49ers look to welcome back two of their top receivers this Sunday for the Jets game in veteran Arnaz Battle and rookie Josh Morgan.

Battle suffered a foot injury in the 49ers home game against the Seahawks, and has since missed four games. He is listed probable after taking his second full day of practice.

"I was a little sore at first but I feel like I've got great preparation this week so that I can go out and perform on Sunday," said Battle. "I've been out five weeks including the bye week so I'm anxious. Things have turned around, Coach Singletary has got the mentality transformed and we are getting on that path to where we feel we can go out and dominate, so I'm excited to get back out there and play in a game."

Despite being sidelined over the last month, Battle still ranks fourth on the team in receiving with 24 catches for 318 yards.

Morgan also earned the probable designation after taking his first full practice of the week on Friday, although head coach Mike Singletary said the decision could come down to the wire.

"It was great to see him out here, but we really won't know until game time," said Singletary.

Morgan enjoyed his longest touchdown pass of his career, a 31-yarder from Shaun Hill in the 49ers Monday night game against the Cardinals, but suffered a groin injury late in the game. He's been inactive the last three weeks, following the injury.

It's a rather dicey situation this Sunday for cornerback Nate Clements, who is listed as questionable on the injury report. Clements has not practiced all week after suffering a hairline fracture in his thumb in the 49ers win over his former Buffalo Bills team. Singletary revealed on Friday that Clements had a surgical procedure done this week to insert some screws and pins into his broken thumb.

"We know how Nate feels. I don't even want to talk to Nate because I know he wants to play," said Singletary. "That's not even a question, and I know he's hoping it works out where he can play. We just have to wait and see. It's an issue of jamming, it's falling on the ground, being able to protect yourself, and being able to protect the thumb. When you play this game, you've got to play it. You can't be thinking about it or compensating, then you hurt something else. He understands that. We just have to wait and see."

Clements said the procedure took place on Tuesday, and that he is day to day, and optimistic that he can go on Sunday, which would keep his impressive 116-game starting streak alive. On top of his starting streak, the eight-year corner has never missed a game in his NFL career.

"On one side, I'm saying get out there. The other side is saying, you don't want to hurt yourself permanently so I'll wait and see how it feels," said Clements.

Clements could be outfitted with a large cast to protect the thumb, which was broken when he made a stop of Marshawn Lynch last week on a run play. But given his aggressive style of play, there is some concern that he could make the injury worse.

"I'm not really concerned about having the cast or anything," said Clements. "It's just the way I play, I guess it would be an issue of aggravating it or falling on it."

Clements, who actually doesn't remember ever missing a game in college or high school, once before had his NFL streak placed in jeopardy due to a separated shoulder.

Clements suffered the separation when he laid a pop on Lions running back Artose Pinner in a preseason game a few years ago when he was still in Buffalo.

The injury lingered on and ended up being a game time decision, but Clements did get clearance to play. He's hoping for a similar outcome this Sunday.

Return specialist Allen Rossum is doubtful for Sunday after missing the week of practice with an ankle injury that kept him out last week against Buffalo.

That means that more than likely, Battle will handle the team's punt return duties, a job that was primarily his back in 2004 when he returned 31 punts for 266 yards, including a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown. Battle has been used from time to time in the last four seasons since then, coming up with a long return of 60 yards against Arizona in 2006.

"I'll be ready for it. It's something in my resume," said Battle. "I haven't done a lot of it the past couple of years because of my role as a receiver, but it's definitely an opportunity to get the ball in my hands and make a play, so I'm ready to step up for the challenge."

Safety Dashon Goldson, who saw extensive action in the team's big sub defense during the first half of the season, also looks to make a return to the grid-iron after missing the last five games with a knee injury. Goldson was limited the last two days, but took a full load on Friday and is probable for Sunday.

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