SANTA CLARA – The 49ers will investigate the possibility of adding a tight end to their 53-man roster after playing most of Sunday’s game with just one healthy player at that position.
Garrett Celek, the 49ers’ third tight end, sustained a hamstring strain early in the 49ers’ 10-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers. And late in the first half, Vernon Davis exited with a concussion.
Rookie Vance McDonald played 42 of the 49ers’ 53 offensive plays. He did not catch a pass. He had an opportunity for a big play in the fourth quarter, but he could not finish the reception on a perfectly thrown ball from Colin Kaepernick when Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly grabbed his left arm just as McDonald got both hands on the ball.
The 49ers could activate tight end Derek Carrier from the practice squad, depending on the availability of Davis and Celek for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
“We’re looking at some options right now,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “And there’s decisions to be made. Wait until get medical results back and have more (information) to make those decisions.”
Davis and safety Eric Reid must pass through the NFL’s protocol on concussions before they can be cleared to practice and play. Reid sustained his second concussion in two months. Davis sustained a concussion last December. Both Reid and Davis returned for the following games after their concussions.
The 49ers are expected to make at least one other roster move this week. Harbaugh said he expects rookie linebacker/special-teams player Nick Moody to return to the 53-man roster. Moody has been out since Week 1 with a broken hand. He was placed on injured reserve designated to return.
Wide receiver Michael Crabtree will go through his second week of practice with the team, but he remains a longshot to be elevated to the active roster for Sunday's game against the Saints.