SANTA CLARA -- Defensive lineman Cornellius "Tank" Carradine is among a handful of injured players not cleared to participate in the 49ers three-day rookie mini camp that started Friday.
In the interim, Carradine is finding other ways to assimilate to the NFL as he waits for his right knee to recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered at Florida State.
Carradine said he is following doctors' orders right now, learning the playbook, doing his rehab work and bonding with his teammates. Just the same, he is eager to show what he can do on the field.
"Yeah, I'm very anxious, because I'm also coming off the injury and people want to know would he really be back?" Carradine said after his fellow rookies went through an on-field workout Friday. He said he can't wait for his "opportunity to show them."
The 49ers selected Carradine in the second round of the NFL draft in late April in hopes of his developing into a vital cog in their defensive line rotation.
Carradine, 6-foot-4 and 276 pounds, recorded 11 sacks before his season-ending injury. He also notched 26 sacks at Butler Community College (Kansas) before he signed with Florida State.
Coach Jim Harbaugh said Carradine had his knee checked out by doctors Thursday. Now there's a clear-cut approach moving forward.
"That's the first step of the process, really knowing what we're dealing with," Harbaugh said. "Everything looks good structurally with all the guys we drafted. ... Now we set a plan in place."
Carradine said he is awaiting word from team doctors for when he'll be ready to hit the practice field. Through the whole process, he never doubted his ability to return.
"I didn't have any doubts because I knew I had to work hard, I knew things like that would come along," Carradine said. "I've seen guys get hurt all the time. Some of them come back, some of them don't. I just believe in myself."