49ers' Kyle Williams staying patient through rehab

SANTA CLARA — Another offseason means another recovery session for 49ers wide receiver Kyle Williams.

A year ago, he mentally bounced back from his punt-return gaffes in an NFC Championship game loss to the New York Giants. These days, Williams is physically progressing from a Nov. 25 knee injury, but he's restricted from fully participating in the 49ers' organized team activities.

"I want to be out there cranking with my guys, steer the young guys in the right way and go through the struggle with them," Williams said this week. "But we've got to be smart. You can't put the foot down on the gas if all the parts aren't running right yet.

"We've got to stick to the protocol from Day 1."

Williams' rehabilitation is going well, however.

He is on course to fully return once training camp begins in two months, although teams often wait a few days into camp before clearing previously injured players.

"I feel great and I'm making progress every single day," Williams said. "I want to stay on that same path and be ready for Week 1."

Entering his fourth season, Williams probably will be part of a rotation of receivers who will be deployed in place of Michael Crabtree, last year's leading receiver who is sidelined for the next six months or so because of an Achilles tear.

With Anquan Boldin entrenched as a starter, Williams is a leading candidate to start at the other spot, as his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament is further along than that of Mario Manningham, who was injured Dec. 23.

The 49ers also are hoping a young receiver emerges, such as A.J. Jenkins, Ricardo Lockette, Quinton Patton, Marlon Moore, Chad Hall or Joe Hastings.

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