The San Francisco 49ers are still looking to earn a first round bye in the NFC Playoffs, but will need to defeat the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, while also holding out hope that the Minnesota Vikings can upset the Green Bay Packers. The 49ers are also hoping that tight end Vernon Davis will be able to play when the 49ers face the cardinals in the Week 17 regular season finale.
According to The Associated Press, Davis practiced in a non-contact black jersey for the second consecutive day Friday and is taking the necessary steps, according to NFL-mandated protocol, to return from a concussion he sustained during last week’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Having already placed Mario Manningham on season ending IR, the 49ers would love to have Davis on the field on Sunday, despite the fact that he has struggled to get on the same page with Colin Kaepernick over the past few games. If he cannot go, Delanie Walker would likely get the start at tight end for San Francisco, who could finish anywhere from the No. 2 seed to the No. 5 seed, depending on what takes place on Sunday. They have clinched a postseason berth, but could still lose the NFC West crown to the Seahawks with a 49ers loss and Seattle win this weekend.
Head coach Jim Harbuagh knows the importance of having a healthy Davis on the field, but has said that the medical staff will have the final say, especially as it relates to concussions.
“Tomorrow he’ll go through the final progression,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Friday. “He’s on course, but that’s something the doctors have full control over.”
Davis also knows that the decision will ultimately not be his to make.
“I’m thinking I have to be ready for this game,” Davis said. “That’s the way I’m approaching it. There’s a lot on the line. No matter what happens, we have to win this game. So my mind is focused on getting out there and helping my teammates win this game any way I can. I’m ready to play.”
But being ready to play and being medically cleared to play are two entirely different things. Davis will be a game time decision.