NAPA -- Running back Taiwan Jones practiced for the first time in two weeks Sunday, while wide receiver Jacoby Ford watched from the sidelines with a protective boot on his left foot.

Jones, who strained a hamstring Aug. 5, carried at least a dozen times in the no-pads session and was greeted with a thud on his first carry by linebacker Philip Wheeler.

"That was just my defense welcoming me back," Jones said. "It was No. 52 (Wheeler). I made a note of that."

Jones is expected to play against Detroit on Saturday, and it has been stressed to him that he doesn't need to hit top-end on every practice rep after he gets through the line.

"One of the biggest things that the coaches made sure they told me I need to learn how to practice, meaning shutting it down when I need to and not trying to outrun everybody," Jones said. "Today that's what I just tried to work on. Not try to get too excited and do too much, just stay within myself."

Coach Dennis Allen said Ford's injury showed no structural damage and no swelling, but he couldn't say for sure if the receiver/return specialist will be ready for the season opener Sept. 10.

"It's really a matter of pain right now," Allen said.

  • Punter Shane Lechler was activated from the non-football injury list -- he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee 10 days before camp opened -- and practiced for the first time.


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    "I felt rusty,' Lechler said. "Of the 12 kicks I did, maybe one was acceptable."

  • Linebacker Aaron Curry remained on the physically unable to perform list after receiving treatment on his sore knees in Los Angeles.

    "We're fast approaching the day where he's either going to be out here ready to go or he's not, because it's not a game where you can just show up and play," Allen said.

  • Nonparticipants included defensive tackle Richard Seymour (veteran's day off), center Stefen Wisniewski (calf), wide receiver Denarius Moore (hamstring), quarterback Matt Leinart (lacerated finger), running back Rashawn Jackson (hip), tackle Zach Hurd (head) and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (shoulder).

    Cornerback Pat Lee returned from paternity leave, while safety Michael Huff, also on paternity leave, was not at practice. Tight end Brandon Myers (shoulder) got in a few reps and is expected to play against Detroit.

  • Allen ended practice about 30 minutes earlier than usual, giving the team a head start into a CBA-mandated day off to come into Wednesday's practice fresh.