Kendall Hunter Shows off Healed Knee at 49ers OTAs

Nearing the end of the San Francisco 49ers offseason workout program, there's a lot of excitement around the team's running back group.

Reggie Bush looks and feels like he just entered the league. Mike Davis, a fourth-round selection in May's draft, has been called a potential three-down runner. Australian-import Jarryd Hayne has the eyes of a nation focused on him. And although Pierre Garçon is nursing a muscle pull in his leg, he is expected to be a focal point in San Francisco's offense after a standout rookie campaign.

With all those running backs drawing headlines, it's easy for one 49ers ball-carrier to be somewhat overlooked.

Hello, Kendall Hunter.

After amassing 1,202 yards and seven touchdowns in his first three NFL seasons as Frank Gore's backup, Hunter missed all of last year with a torn ACL he suffered in training camp.

The fifth-year running back is now healthy again, and by all accounts has looked explosive during team OTA drills.

"He's coming along great," Jim Tomsula said last week. "I think we all have strong feelings for Kendall… but we definitely have a rep count on him. You've got to keep him corralled, but he's moving around really quick."

As Tomsula mentioned, the 49ers aren't letting Hunter go 100 percent just yet. But that didn't deter the 26-year-old from expressing confidence in his knee's readiness.

Asked if he could play in a game right now, Hunter said, "No doubt."

Hunter is still receiving treatment for his knee, but he said the medical attention is more for maintenance than anything else.

"Once you hurt something, you nurse it even if it isn't hurt," he said. "Just to stay healthy and be ready to go."

At the moment, Hunter isn't concerned about what his role will be in 2014 in a crowded backfield. After a year away from football, he's just happy to be back on the field with his teammates.

"I feel like any injury shows you how much you love the game and motivates you," Hunter said. "It's a setback. But what are you going to do when you're healthy? It's going to make me take advantage of any opportunity I have."

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