San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmie Ward is back taking part in team drills this week. The often-injured defensive back suffered a fractured collarbone during a May 23 practice and has been eased back into team activities.

Ward is expected to compete for the starting free safety job where second-year defensive back Tarvarius Moore has taken most of the first-team reps since Ward's injury.

With the hurdle of returning to practice out of the way, it sounds like we will see Ward on the playing field on Saturday for the first time in the preseason. Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Thursday that the safety is expected to play in the 49ers' road game in Kansas City.

"He's in team drills," Shanahan said. "He's allowed contact now. We expect him to play this week."

Others not practicing on Thursday: DE Nick Bosa (ankle), S Adrian Colbert (hamstring), DL Dee Ford (knee tendinitis), CB Tim Harris (groin), TE George Kittle (calf), LB Elijah Lee (thumb), RB Jerick McKinnon (knee), DT Jullian Taylor (back), WR Trent Taylor (foot), CB Jason Verrett (ankle), CB K'Waun Williams (knee)

Shanahan noted that the 49ers aren't concerned with Kittle's injury. They are just cautious because of the short week before Saturday's game. Shanahan said he would be surprised if his Pro Bowl tight end played against the Chiefs, but no final decision has been made yet.

"I know he could push it today, but it's still bothering him a little bit, so we are being cautious," Shanahan said.


Joshua Garnett was one of two guards who returned to practice on Wednesday. The other was Mike Person (foot). Shanahan was asked how Garnett looked in his first practice back after undergoing surgery on his finger.

"Yesterday, we didn't have pads on," Shanahan responded. "We only had two live periods without pads. He's got a cast on his hand, so he was able to go out there and protect himself. Today, we'll have pads on so we'll be able to see a little bit more.

"I'd like to get him in the game, but we haven't decided yet, though. So depending on how much he goes will affect how much he goes the next week versus the Chargers."