SAN FRANCISCO -- Concussions sidelined tight end Vernon Davis and safety Eric Reid in an injury-riddled loss Sunday that also saw defensive tackle Ray McDonald leave with an ankle injury.
"I just saw them in the locker room, and they seemed as good as could be expected," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said after the 10-9 defeat to the Carolina Panthers.
Neither Davis nor Reid returned from their concussions and must pass a series of medical tests this week to be cleared for next Sunday's game at New Orleans.
Reid's appeared the most serious as he remained on the Candlestick turf for some five minutes while the 49ers medical staff tended to him. It was his second concussion of this stellar rookie season, with the other coming in a Week 2 loss at Seattle.
"I pray he'll be OK, but I also pray that he does the right thing and take the kind of time you need (to recover)," linebacker Patrick Willis said. "It's his second time going down like that. At the end of the day, it's about your health."
Reid, who said he didn't sustain a concussion in his four seasons at LSU, got hurt Sunday making a third-quarter tackle of 245-pound fullback Mike Tolbert. Reid earlier recovered a muffed punt to set up the 49ers' second field goal.
Davis took himself out of the game after getting tackled into the turf by Mike Mitchell after dropping a second-quarter pass near the Panthers' 5-yard line. Davis last sustained a concussion Dec. 23 at Seattle, and although he did not return to that game, he did play the following week.
McDonald tried playing through an ankle injury but stayed out the second half. Left guard Mike Iupati overcame a left knee injury, and tight end Garrett Celek left in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. Wideout Mario Manningham said his surgically repaired left knee fared well in his season debut, nearly 11 months after tearing two ligaments. "My knee's cool, it held up, but I would have felt better if we would have won." Manningham had three receptions for 30 yards, and he also dropped two passes. LaMichael James returned punts for the first time outside of exhibition action, doing so three times for gains of 2, 15 and 18 yards. "It was my first time being back in live situations, and it's something I feel I can excel at," said James, who replaced Kyle Williams in that role. Anthony Dixon took over for Williams on kickoff returns, and his only return wasn't a wise one, as that 18-yard effort started deep in the end zone and made it only to the 12-yard line. Ahmad Brooks matched his career high with three sacks to raise his season total to 61/2. That moved Brooks into the team lead ahead of Aldon Smith, who had 41/2 his first three games and played just 11 snaps Sunday in his return from a five-game hiatus. Brooks' 31 sacks since 2008 rank him ninth in franchise history. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton completed 50 percent of his passes (16 of 32, 169 yard) and ran seven times for just 17 yards. "The Carolina Panthers needed this type of win," Newton said referring to the low-scoring affair. " ... You could cut the tension with a knife at most points in this game. I am very excited we got a win against this great team." Cornerback Tramaine Brock came up with his fourth interception this season, the most by a 49ers defender since 2011 when Carlos Rogers and Dashon Goldson each had six. Brock returned his latest theft 42 yards to set up a 25-yard field goal. Phil Dawson converted on all three of his field-goal attempts, starting with a season-long 52-yarder. His others came from 43 and 25 yards. Willis, appearing in his 100th career game, notched his first sack this season. Former 49ers receiver/returner Ted Ginn Jr. helped the Panthers' cause by averaging 21 yards on two kickoff returns, 21.7 yards on three punt returns and 9.5 yards on two receptions.