San Francisco 49ers nose tackles Glenn Dorsey and Ian Williams have not spent much time on the football field together.
After Williams suffered a season-ending injury in 2013, Dorsey flourished. Now they've traded places. Dorsey has suffered his own season-ender, and Williams hopes to help fans forget.
"We have been texting back and forth," Williams said before his first practice back from rehabbing on Wednesday. "He's never had surgery before, so I told him how surgery was and, yeah, it's a little weird to fall asleep like that. He's going to come back when he can, as soon as he's ready."
That won't be for a while. Dorsey, who came over from the Kansas City Chiefs two offseasons ago and entered '13 as Williams' backup, suffered a torn bicep muscle* in his knee in a training camp practice on Aug. 1.
Young reserves Mike Purcell, Tony Jerod-Eddie and Quinton Dial have all been mentioned as possible replacements, as Williams, who broke his ankle in Week 2 of last season, has continued his road back.
Williams, who wears number 93 across his chest, had his first opportunity to do that during Wednesday morning's team walk-through. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he was cleared to practice in the afternoon. It was unclear if Williams would be available to play in Sunday's preseason game opposite the Denver Broncos at Levi's® Stadium.
"Running around and cutting is the easy part, but when you're pushing against somebody that is 350 poinds, that is totally different than running the 40(-yard) dash," Williams said about overcoming the mental hurdle. "The training staff here put me through rigorious workouts.
"I'm still working every day to get better, to push myself to see how far I can go... As long as I'm healed, I can do what I do."
The team grew accustomed to the production of Dorsey, who recorded 41 tackles and two sacks last season. Williams knows he has big cleats to fill.
"I'm not going to lie you: Yes, there is pressure," Williams said. "This is the NFL, so there is pressure every day. But this is what we do. They put us through hard workouts to break through that wall of pressure.
"Having Glenn come in here last year. Everyone wanted to blow it up as a d-tackle battle, but to have a a great veteran like that come in and talk to you and teach you things... I try to take everything from all (my teammates') games and mix it into mine."
*This article has been corrected to reflect Dorsey's injury.
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