Vance McDonald confident he will play Sunday; Vernon Davis unsure of status against Eagles

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SANTA CLARA, California — 49ers tight end Vance McDonald expects to play Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The playing status of Vernon Davis is less certain.

McDonald, recovering from a knee injury, went through a personalized workout Friday and then ran routes, and afterward said he was ready to go.

"I'm confident I can go Sunday," McDonald said. "Running routes felt great."

McDonald hurt his knee during the 49ers' loss to the Chicago Bears two weeks ago and has been limited to personal training as established by the team trainers.

"It's something I had to work through," McDonald said. "We've been using caution; it's all about Sunday."

The second-year tight end said he did well at Friday's workout, which tested his knee from every angle.

"I'm pretty happy," McDonald said. "I was impatient and wanted to do more work after I was finished for the day, but the trainers kept me on a schedule and they've done a great job of getting me back in a timely fashion."

McDonald, who has one catch for 9 yards on the season, would give the 49ers more options. They relied on a five-receiver set in last week's loss to the Arizona Cardinals because of a lack of depth at tight end.

"That's what I like about this team: we can line up two tight ends or go with a five-receiver set and still move the football," McDonald said. "I thought they did a great job offensively."

Davis refused to commit to playing, perhaps shying away after making a definitive statement last week and not playing.

"It will be more of a game-time decision," Davis said. "We'll keep working and hopefully I can be ready. I feel a lot better than last week."

Davis is sore in the deltoid ligament region of his ankle, which is the area where the foot and leg meet. He said he feels it around the front of his ankle and will test it Sunday about an hour before game time.

"It's tough when the guys are all out there battling," Davis said. "You want to be out there with them. But you can't get too overwhelmed. I'll just take it one day at a time."

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh also expressed caution and optimism about Davis' status, while extolling his talents in all phases of the offense.

"He's one of the rare tight ends that's really good in the run game and really good in the pass game," Harbaugh said. "He's at the highest level in both."

Davis also realizes his value as a run blocker.

"Definitely, when you can run or pass everyone gets a chance to get involved, especially Frank Gore," Davis said. "We can't do too much without him. We've got to get him going as well as Michael Crabtree and the other receivers."

NOTES: Harbaugh said the reason a field goal attempt was blocked against the Cardinals, who only had nine men on the field at the time, was that half the team never got the signal that a fake was taken off. "We didn't communicate the fake was off," he said. "Half the line knew it was off and half the line was blocking like it was a fake." ... LB Patrick Willis said he never prepares anything ahead of delivering his pre-game speech each week. "It's just something I feel during warmups as I look at the team," he said. "I start to feel it and I go with whatever comes up." ... S Antonie Bethea (ankle) is listed as questionable and did not practice Friday, though it's likely he'll be ready to make his 100th consecutive start against the Eagles. ... C Marcus Martin (knee) is out, while CB Tramaine Brock (toe sprain) is listed as questionable, but is doubtful. T Anthony Davis (hamstring) is questionable, while Michael Crabtree (quad), Gore (back), Willis (wrist) and Justin Smith (non-injury related) are all probable.


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