2 Or 3 To Return
October 25 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers received some good news in practice this week. Two and possibly three players that they werenít counting on for this week could be available. Defensive end John Engleberger, fullback Paul Smith and receiver JJ Stokes all practiced in at least a limited fashion. The 49ers could really use these players to help their much depleted depth charts.
With Terry Jackson injured for the rest of the season Paul Smith is the only backup fullback on the roster. The 49ers may also be without starting running back Garrison Hearst, and given the versatility of Smith, he could be a huge help in this area.
John Engelbegerger was certainly missed by the defensive ends last week. Providing he is ready to return to the rotation, the 49ers should be able to keep fresh at this key position and thus should be able to get to the quarterback a little more often.
JJ Stokes would make a great third receiver. Not to take anything away from Cederick Wilson who manned the role last season, but on third downs, and in the redzone where Stokes excels, and against teamís nickel backs he could be a huge asset. When he returns to 100% the 49ers will have a very tough decision to make at the receiver position.
Given the 49ers injuries across the board, they would welcome any and all returns of players on the mend. These three would be a great start to regaining the crucial level of health needed to stay on the winning continuum.
Further - the 49ers had to add Eric Johnson to the injury report as questionable after he was unable to practice on Wednesday and Thursday due to back injury heís had for a couple weeks that has worsened in condition.