Jerick McKinnon is expected to be ready for the upcoming season. That is still the plan, so don't read too much into the signing of running back Tevin Coleman just yet.

McKinnon is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered on September 1, 2018, just over a week before the San Francisco 49ers kicked off the regular season.

While quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who suffered his torn ACL 22 days after McKinnon's, is expected to start throwing and getting in some non-contact work during organized team activities in late-May, the 49ers will be more cautious with McKinnon because of the position he plays.

Garoppolo can get some work done without anyone laying a hand on him. That isn't as simple for running backs, who need to cut and avoid tackles — even practice ones.

The Coleman signing means the 49ers can be more careful with McKinnon's return. It doesn't, however, diminish the desire to get him onto the practice field to see what he can do. McKinnon, after all, was a free agent signing last offseason who many figured would change the way head coach Kyle Shanahan calls plays.

Still, the team plans on being patient.

"When guys are coming off ACLs and stuff, you're not going to rush them back just because you need them, or you're going to lose them a lot longer," head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Thursday. "You've got to be patient regardless of the situation, not just having Tevin, but all the guys we played with last year makes us feel that we can be patient and be smart.

"Regardless, you don't have a choice. You always have to be patient and smart. The more guys you have, the easier it is."

Some questioned what the Coleman signing means for McKinnon's future. Was it because the team is worried about his recovery?

"No, not at all," Shanahan said. "We were very fortunate to have a chance to get Tevin. Didn't really think that at all, that would be a possibility of going through. It ended up working out.

"I remember going into this, I've never had (a moment) where I'd say (we'd have) at least four backs right now who played at a high level last year. But, I don't consider it a problem. I consider it a very good thing.

"There's a lot of guys we have confidence in, and a lot of guys with some different skill sets too that we can use differently."

The 49ers also have Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert on the roster. While Shanahan has never suited up four running backs during a game, that doesn't mean he wouldn't consider it. Carrying four into a game would need to make sense when considering other roster needs. Even with three, one of those running backs would likely need to be a key special teams contributor as Mostert has been.

New 49ers linebacker Kwon Alexander played in the same division with Coleman and faced the running back twice a year. What is his scouting report on his former foe turned teammate?

"He's a great player," Alexander said. "He's great, and he can catch the ball, run, and make great cuts. He's got great vision, very fast too. He's going to be a great addition to this team."