San Francisco 49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward suffered yet another injury last week when the sixth-year player broke his finger after getting it caught on a teammate's jersey. It was yet another setback for Ward, who has dealt with several injuries, many season-ending, throughout his NFL career.

Ward was out on the practice field on Wednesday in Youngstown, Ohio, where the 49ers are preparing this week for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He had a cast over the injured finger and was wearing a blue no-contact jersey. A lot of what happens during the week of practices will determine if Ward can play on Sunday.

"Obviously, he had no contact today," head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Wednesday. "It's more of a pain tolerance, and I know Jimmie can deal with as much pain as anyone, so if it's too much, that means it's way too much. We'll see how that goes throughout the week.

"He's not testing it right now. He can run and do everything, and it's protected. If he feels it's protected, he can go. Obviously, it's harder to catch footballs with one hand instead of two, but you rarely tackle with your fingers and stuff like that. Jimmie still would have a chance to play if the pain can go away."

Let's assume Ward finds himself healthy enough to play on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. Where will he find himself with the emergence of second-year defensive back Tarvarius Moore at safety? The answer? He'll be right back in familiar territory — in a competition. And that's exactly what Shanahan wants.

"When Jimmie starts practicing better and shows that he can play better, then you're always going to put the best guys on the field," Shanahan said. "But I know it's going to be hard to do because I think Tarvarius is playing at a high level, and I think he's getting better. But I think Jimmie plays that way too when he's healthy, so it's a good problem to have. And the more Jimmie gets healthy, and the more it can be a competition, we'll embrace that every week."