An extra week to heal has proved beneficial for San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis, who says he can play without thinking again. And that's a good thing.
“Coming off an injury, it always lingers and it's in your mind when you're playing,” Davis said Thursday. “I feel healthy enough to go out, get going, not thinking, just reacting.”
Hampered by ankle and back problems most of the season, Davis hopes to add to his 14 catches for 142 yards in the 49ers' rematch with the visiting St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
An All-Pro player last year after catching 13 touchdown passes, Davis has been limited to a pair of touchdown receptions, both in the first quarter of the 49ers' season-opening victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
“You're always going to have trials and face adversity,” Davis said. “You can grow from it if you deal with it the right way.”
San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman expects bigger things ahead for Davis, the franchise leader among tight ends with 55 touchdowns.
“I think he's back to form, and you know, he's been playing through some things,” Roman said. “He's gutted his way through it and I think he's got a very focused glare when it comes to what he wants to accomplish from here on out.”
Regaining his proficiency as a deep threat is one of those things he wants to accomplish.
“For the most part I feel like I can do a lot of things well,” Davis said. “The bye week was a great opportunity to work on things and to try to get healthy.”
His presence would give Colin Kaepernick, who threw for season highs of 343 yards and three touchdowns in the 49ers' win over the Rams three weeks ago, another weapon in the passing game.
“I'll do whatever it takes to win,” Davis said. "I'll block for Frank Gore, I'll be the decoy down field, whatever it takes.”
As far as dealing with adversity, Davis only needs to look down a few lockers to see how running back Marcus Lattimore has been dealing with it for two years.
Lattimore, who turned 23 on Wednesday, is two years removed from a devastating knee injury and made his practice debut this week, getting individual attention from former 49ers fullback Tom Rathman, among others.
“It was great to see him out there,” Roman said. “He worked with coach Rathman after practice and got with some of the defensive players and got some contact work, which was really good.”
The 49ers have 21 days to decide whether to put him on the active roster.
NOTES: WR Stevie Johnson, a San Francisco native, said the Giants winning the World Series “puts pressure on us to make it a San Francisco thing. Hopefully, the Warriors can take the NBA.” Johnson said the San Jose Sharks' Logan Couture once told him that the difference in the playoffs “was how people reacted to each other. That's what we want here and it could be a special year.”