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49ers' Tramaine Brock shines as reserve, likely to see more action

  • San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tramaine Brock (26) breaks up a pass intended for Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in the first half of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Beck Diefenbach)

SANTA CLARA - The 49ers are hoping other reinforcements soon step up and succeed the way Tramaine Brock did Sunday night.

Filling in for Nnamdi Asomugha as the nickel back, Brock intercepted two passes and returned one for a touchdown to spark a 34-3 rout of the Houston Texans.

"When you play like that, you're going to continue playing," coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday of Brock's impending role. "There'll be more opportunities for him and we're excited about that." Also appealing are the imminent arrival of more reinforcements to the 49ers, who've rebounded for a 3-2 record through a formidable early schedule.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Houston Texans

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Harbaugh expects four players on reserve/injury lists to start practicing next week, when they become eligible: wide receiver Mario Manningham (knee), cornerback Eric Wright (personal issue), rookie defensive tackle Tank Carradine (knee) and rookie nose tackle Quinton Dial (foot).

Wide receiver Michael Crabtree's recovery from a torn Achilles is progressing well enough that the 49ers are hoping he'll be ready to play next month. Crabtree, the 49ers' leading receiver last season, tore his right Achilles on May 21.

"Mid- to late November is what we're hoping for," Harbaugh said. "He seems to be on track for that. He's starting to run."

Crabtree has not commented publicly since the injury, but he has privately expressed optimism about his recovery and gratitude for the widespread encouragement he's received among his teammates and around the sports world.

"I talk to him every day and things seem to be going well," Harbaugh said. "He's been very positive and upbeat."

Crabtree started the season on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list, meaning the 49ers can take him off it between next week and through Nov. 19 to begin practicing. A 21-day practice period follows, so the 49ers could delay his debut until Dec. 15.

No timetable officially has been shared regarding Aldon Smith's eventual return. The 49ers' outside linebacker has been on personal leave for two weeks to tend to substance-abuse treatment.


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