SANTA CLARA –- The 49ers will likely wait until the opening of training camp in late-July to get their first glimpse of first-round draft pick Jimmie Ward.
Ward, a safety and nickel cornerback from Northern Illinois chosen with the No. 30 overall pick, was on the field Friday for the opening of the 49ers’ rookie camp. But he was merely a bystander. During the warmup period, he tossed a football around with cornerback Keith Reaser, who is rehabbing from recent knee surgery and figures to spend his rookie season on the non-football injury list.
Ward’s condition will not take nearly as much time to rehab.
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Ward was unaware he even had an injury until the eve of his workout at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February. During the physical examination, doctors discovered Ward had a Jones fracture in his right foot.
A Jones fracture is the name given to a fracture that occurs to the fifth metatarsal bone in the midfoot area.
Ward said he has no idea when he sustained the injury because he never knew he had the injury.
“I have no clue,” Ward said. “I didn’t feel it. I had no symptoms. I didn’t feel anything.”
He was not allowed to work out at the Combine, but he still took part in his pro day at Northern Illinois on March 7. He reportedly ran 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Four days later, he underwent a surgery that has a six- to eight-week recovery period.
“They basically put a screw in the metatarsal, it was fractured,” Ward said after the 49ers selected him with the No. 30 overall pick. “They took some bone marrow out of my hip and inserted it into the crack to help speed up the process.”
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During the pre-draft medical recheck in Indianapolis on March 25, doctors gave Ward a positive report that the foot’s healing was on schedule.
While Ward could be ready to participate at some point during the 49ers’ four weeks of organized team activities, coach Jim Harbaugh on Friday suggested the 49ers will give Ward even more time to recover.
“Right now, (he is) just in the walk-through type of sessions,” Harbaugh said. “But he is scheduled to be healthy for training camp.”