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49ers camp notes: Injuries strike Baas, Balmer

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Productive morning so far at 49ers camp, watching practice and conducting interviews. A few notes from the morning practice:

  • Mike Singletary's nutcracker drills made a surprise appearance for a second consecutive day. Starting guard David Baas didn't make it through the drill. A foot strain was the initial diagnosis. No timetable for his return.

  • Defensive end Kentwan Balmer suffered a sprained knee. He did not return. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky heaped praise upon Balmer for making a big jump from his first to second seasons.

  • Manusky qualified his praise for pass-rusher Manny Lawson by saying he is "always expecting more" from him. Lawson has generally impressed as a pass-rusher from what I have seen, faring well in individual drills. He batted down a quick swing pass during practice Monday morning.

  • I'm not seeing an obvious difference between quarterbacks Shaun Hill and Alex Smith. I'd love to file a conclusive report here, but I haven't made conclusions, other than noting that Smith appears stronger and more confident this summer. Looking forward to the afternoon practice, another chance to watch them.

  • Manusky echoed Singletary in praising Ahmad Brooks. The staff has been hard on Brooks in the past, a sign that Brooks has potential (the staff wouldn't take the time to jump on him if Brooks weren't worth the trouble). Brooks is getting work in Parys Haralson's spot while Haralson recovers from a hip injury.

  • Free safety Dashon Goldson remains a good practice player. Manusky said he hopes the additional first-team reps Goldson is getting will help him transfer his ability to games. We won't be able to tell much more until the season.

  • The 49ers are not built to pass protect for long stretches. That was clear when they tried to run Mike Martz's system. I think it's sometimes clear from watching one-on-one pass-rush drills. This is a power-oriented team. The line is at its best moving forward.

  • A few have asked about defensive end Pannel Egboh and offensive tackle Alex Boone. Egboh threw Boone to the side in one-on-one pass-rush work. He also tossed veteran backup tackle Barry Sims. All was not pleasant for Egboh, however. Adam Snyder absolutely pancaked him early in the drill.

  • Former 49ers tackle Harris Barton watched practice Monday, as did former receiver and administrator R.C. Owens. I spoke with Owens for a bit. If you've watched NFL Films programming much, you've seen Owens' alley-oop receptions. Owens still likes it when people call him "Oop" or "Oops" -- as they did during practice.

Anything you'd like me to watch in the afternoon practice? Let me know.