All week long, Kendall Hunter peppered fellow San Francisco running back Anthony Dixon about how he…
The 49ers looked like a team that was two days removed from a loss, struggling offensively in a practice in front of their home fans.
But there was good news as running back Kendall Hunter returned to practice in full pads for the first time since sustaining an Achilles tear in November's win against New Orleans.
"You don't know how much the game meant to you until it's taken away from you. But I felt good being back out there with my teammates – being able to grind and get back in the groove and ply the game I love," Hunter said.
Jim Harbaugh wouldn't commit to Hunter reclaiming his status as the No. 2 running back right away, but noted how positive it was for the team to have him back.
"He probably is the "two" guy in terms of assignments," Harbaugh said. "But whenever you're coming off an injury you got to prove that you're back to 100 percent. Also you have to prove you're better than other people."
Saturday's practice saw the return of center Jonathan Goodwin, who had missed nearly a week and a half of practice for undisclosed reasons. In the start of full team drills, Goodwin and his quarterbacks were clearly not in sync and botched two of the first three snaps.
Overall, Harbaugh called the practice "raggedy" and hopes the team can bounce back Sunday as it resumes work in its practice facility in Santa Clara.
"Wherever we practice, what you want to see is a good practice. Definitely was a raggedy practice offensively and I wasn't pleased about that," Harbuagh said.
"No justification for it. We'll see what we're made of if we can bounce back tomorrow."
Left tackle Joe Staley, corner Tarell Brown, special-teamer Bubba Ventrone (hamstring) and running back Jewel Hampton were absent while dealing with minor injuries. They stayed in Santa Clara to receive treatment.
Colt McCoy sported a blue non-contact jersey and was limited after suffering a stinger to his throwing shoulder in Thursday's loss. Harbaugh said he expects McCoy to play in the next preseason game August 16 in Kansas City.
Fourth-stringer B.J. Daniels is expected to get snaps at quarterback against the Chiefs after only appearing as a running back and kick returner against Denver.
Harbaugh said the 49ers "dodged a bullet with Nick Moody." Moody was back practicing at full capacity with a brace on his left knee. He was forced out of Thurday's game with an injury that appeared to be more severe.
With Brown's absence, Nnamdi Asomugha took snaps with the first-team defense on the right side.
Adam Snyder played left tackle with the first team in place of Staley.
Vance McDonald did not appear in team drills, but was dressed. The rookie tight end had four catches a team-leading 66 yards in Thursday's loss.
Justin Smith practiced fully after not playing in Thursday's game. The team hasn't forced too many reps on the veteran defensive lineman early in training camp.
Hunter received an ovation from his offensive linemen and took a bow the first time he took the huddle in 11-on-11s. He was split wide and the pass was not thrown his way. Hunter only had a handful of reps and did not have a carry or reception.