- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the San Francisco 49ers training camp:
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said running back LaMichael James is confident he can come back quickly from a dislocated elbow. This is James’ third dislocated elbow since high school. He returned quickly both times. He was injured Sunday and is estimated to be out four weeks.
Second-year outside linebacker Corey Lemonier is noticeably stronger in the upper body this training camp. Lemonier said he put on about 10 pounds of muscle in the offseason to get up to 253 pounds. Lemonier worked out with 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith in the offseason. Lemonier has been impressive in camp, showing a great burst. Lemonier played well when he and Dan Skuta filled in for Aldon Smith when Smith was in a treatment center for five games last season. Lemonier will surely be part of the mix if Smith is suspended by the NFL. Skuta worked with the first team while Lemonier worked with the second unit Wednesday while Smith was in Los Angeles tending to a legal matter.
It was a good day for the defense, especially the secondary. Lots of strong play by the backups, including Perrish Cox and first-round pick Jimmie Ward. Starters Tramaine Brock (ankle) and Chris Culliver (knee) have been sitting out the past few practices, and the youngsters are taking advantage. There have been plenty of questions about the 49ers’ cornerbacks, but they’ve shown well in camp. I look forward to seeing them in the preseason.
Receiver Michael Crabtree departed practice early for an undisclosed reason. If it was injury related, it didn't appear serious. Fellow receiver Jonathan Baldwin didn’t appear on the practice field Wednesday.
Second-year defensive tackle Quinton Dial continued to have a great camp. He is always around the ball. The fifth-round pick could be a steal.
Rookie running back Carlos Hyde was returning kicks with James out. I have a feeling the 49ers will deem Hyde too valuable on offense to use him on kick returns, at least early in the season.
Harbaugh said he offered a scholarship to tackle Michael Philipp, who the 49ers claimed on waivers Tuesday from Miami, several years ago. However, Philipp went to Oregon State instead. Now, the two unite.
Harbaugh said running back Alfonso Smith didn’t have to finish his full workout Monday before the team decided to sign him. Harbaugh is excited the way Smith is approaching the opportunity, but I'd still deem him a long-shot to make the 53-man roster.
Injured undrafted rookie offensive lineman Fou Fonoti cleared waivers and is now on the 49ers’ injured reserve.