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Garrett Celek practiced for the first time this season on Tuesday as the 49ers opened the three-week practice window for the tight end.
"I won’t have the pads on," Celek said of Tuesday's practice. "(Wednesday) we’ll do the pads. So (Tuesday) I’ll get out and run a couple of routes and see how everything goes."
Celek started the season on the physically unable to perform list as a result of pain in his lower back that was affecting his ability to run. Celek first noticed the problem during OTAs in the spring, but it became much worse by the start of training camp.
“I had a bulging disc,"Celek confirmed, "and it was pinching the nerve and causing pain down my leg."
The 6-foot-5, 252-pound tight end underwent a surgical procedure to alleviate the discomfort. He says he is now pain-free and under no restrictions as to what he is allowed to do in practice.
“I gotta get back into football shape and the only way to do that is to be back out there with the guys mixing it up,” Celek said. “I want to get involved as much as I can. I think I need to build trust in my back. I’ve got to feel comfortable with what I’m doing. I think getting out there and hitting as much as I can is going to be good for it."
Celek was the only undrafted free agent to make the 49ers opening day roster in 2012. He has played in 25 regular season game and six postseason games in his first two years with the team.
During the three-week evaluation window, the 49ers must decide if they will add Celek to the 53-man roster, release him, or place him on season-ending injured reserve.