Defensive end Dee Ford has missed the last three weeks of practice because of a knee problem, but any doubts the 49ers won’t have him for Game 1 of the regular season were erased Tuesday when he returned to full action.
Ford had taken some time off to get plasma treatment for the left knee. On Tuesday, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Ford looked as good as ever.
“He looked great today,” Shanahan told the media. “Very fresh legs, so we were messing with him over that. He looked very good.”
Ford’s return gives him plenty of time to get ready for the regular-season opener Sept. 8 against the Buccaneers in Tampa. The 49ers close out their exhibition schedule Thursday night against the Chargers, but it seems unlikely Ford will play.
Ford – who signed a five-year deal with the 49ers this spring that could be worth as much as $33.3 million, after a trade – is expected to give San Francisco a strong pass-rush duo, along with top draft pick Nick Bosa.
Ford, 28, played his first five NFL seasons with Kansas City. In 2018, as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, he had 13 sacks. Now in a 4-3 scheme, he’ll line up at defensive end.
Even with his success with the Chiefs last year, he was bothered by knee tendinitis. The recent plasma treatments made the knee better, said Ford.
“This past time it got to a point where I was dysfunctional,” Ford said of the pain. “And that’s a bad sign, so we really had to nip that in the bud. But it feels good now.”
Bosa also has been missing from practice, because of a leg injury, but is close to returning to practice.
“Everybody’s working and trying to get ready for Week 1,” Ford said. “We understand what this D-line brings. Everything is going to pan out like it should.”
Thursday's exhibition finale is set for 7 p.m. at Levi's Stadium.