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49ers notes: Reuben Foster named defensive rookie of month

SANTA CLARA - 49ers rookie linebacker Reuben Foster missed six games in September and October. In November, he missed zero games and won the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month award.

Foster recorded 30 tackles during November - 14 against the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 5, 10 against the New York Giants on Nov. 12 and six against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Foster could have made more than 30 tackles had the 49ers played more than three games in November. But they had their bye week between Nov. 13 and 20.

“When we drafted him, I thought if he could stay healthy he'd be the Rookie of the Year,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said Thursday in the 49ers auditorium.

Health has been an issue for Foster. In the season opener, he suffered a high-ankle sprain and sat out the next five games. He returned Week 7 against the Cowboys, but injured his ribs and missed Week 8.

He returned again Week 9 against the Cardinals and hasn't left the starting lineup since. But he did miss one play last Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks after aggravating the sprain he sustained Week 1.

“I'm happy with where I'm at right now,” Foster said at his locker on Thursday. “Everything is going exactly the way I want.”

COLBERT BACK AT WORK

Free safety Adrian Colbert returned to practice this week for the first time since breaking his thumb against the Giants on Nov. 12.

Colbert is a rookie seventh-round draft pick. He made his first start in the NFL against the Giants, and broke his thumb during the first quarter.

“For the whole game, I thought it was jammed,” Colbert said in the 49ers locker room. “At the end of the game, I got it looked at and found out it was broken.”

Colbert played through the injury and recorded four tackles and two pass breakups. He underwent surgery to repair his thumb on November 14.

On Thursday, Robert Saleh updated Colbert's practice status.

“He was able to go through his non-contact (drills). Thankfully, his feet and his head weren't hurt, so he's been able to fly around, show all that speed that we're starting to like.”

Saleh said Colbert could miss Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears but return the following week when the 49ers play the Houston Texans.

“It seems that way, but you never know,” Saleh said. “It's really going to come down to the trainers and how stable that thumb is, to be honest with you. There's risk, obviously, and how much restriction he would have with a brace on, and all that stuff.”

Does Colbert feel ready to play this Sunday if he has to?

“If I had to? Yeah,” Colbert said. “If it was up to me, I would have played last week. But it's not up to me.”

Colbert will wear a protective cast on his right thumb when he finally returns to the field.

AARON LYNCH IN SHAPE

Defensive end Aaron Lynch was a healthy scratch last Sunday when the 49ers played the Seahawks.

Lynch injured his calf Week 9 against the Cardinals and missed the following game against the Giants. Then, he rested while the 49ers had their bye week.

When they returned for Week 12, Lynch was healthy. He participated fully in every practice that week. But he still didn't play against the Seahawks. He didn't even dress for the game. He was one of seven inactive players on the 49ers.

Robert Saleh explained what Lynch must do to return to action.

“Keep working to get healthy. Keep grinding. You're going to see Aaron on the field. He had a really good day at practice yesterday. Hopefully he can stack it up again today. He's going in the right direction. He's got a great attitude and he's doing all the right things. He's just still working through what he's got. He's actually working and showing that he wants to get on the field too, so that's cool.”

Will Lynch be on the field this Sunday?

“We're working through that,” Saleh said

Lynch, 24, reported to offseason training camp out of shape. He weighed roughly 300 pounds, he said. But he lost 30 pounds before the regular season began.

Here's Saleh on Lynch's conditioning:

“He looks like he's in pretty good shape. He looks like he's in really good shape, to be honest with you. I don't know if shape is the issue. I don't even think there is an issue. It's just him continuing to work through his ailment.”

The 49ers drafted Lynch in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. He recorded 12.5 sacks his first two seasons in the NFL, but has recorded just 2.5 sacks since 2016.

He is scheduled to be a free agent during the offseason.

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