SANTA CLARA -- Another injury has struck the 49ers' running back corps, as LaMichael James got carted off the field with an apparently dislocated left elbow early in Sunday's practice.

James could be out a month because of the dislocation, according to the NFL Network.

James had just become a top contender for the No. 2 running back role Friday, once Kendall Hunter sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

It's believed James got hurt in a pass-blocking drill. Coach Jim Harbaugh hovered over James on the ground before a trainer whisked him off to the locker room. James appeared to be supporting his left wrist with his right hand.

James spoke Saturday about how he approaches pass protection, stating: "It's more of a mental game. Eyes in the right spot. Picking up blitzes. Now this is my third year and I have a better grasp of anything."

Injuries have struck James leading up to his two previous seasons. James sprained his left knee in last exhibition season's finale at San Diego, and an ankle injury required him to get carted off the field in a 2012 exhibition at Houston.

Running back was one of the 49ers' deepest positions entering camp. Now rookie Carlos Hyde and former practice-squad player Jewel Hampton are the only healthy backups behind Frank Gore.

Marcus Lattimore eventually will join that group. He's started camp on the non-football-injury list while conditioning his reconstructed right knee.


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"There's a percentage that it needs to get better," Harbaugh said of Lattimore's knee. "As I watched him through the offseason you could see it getting better every single day. To ballpark a percentage, that would be hard to do. But, it's not yet 100 and I say that more from a physical aspect than from a mental.

"When it gets to that point then he has the best chance to compete out there. I would think of it as my own son. What would I do if it was my own son in the same situation? I would do what's best for him. The same applies to Marcus."

For more on the 49ers, see Cam Inman's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CamInman.