49ers expect one Ward back soon while the other remains out

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The news is better for one Ward in the 49ers’ defensive backfield than the other Ward.

Cornerback Charvarius Ward, who has been out for two weeks with a groin injury, is expected to be back at practice following the 49ers' preseason finale on Thursday night against the Houston Texans.

He is on pace to be up to full strength in plenty of time for the regular-season opener on Sept. 11 against the Chicago Bears.

However, the news is not as promising for free safety Jimmie Ward, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said during an appearance on KNBR on Wednesday morning.

“It’s going to be some time before we get Jimmie back,” Shanahan said.

Ward sustained a hamstring injury during practice on Aug. 14, and his availability for the 49ers’ season opener appears to be in doubt.

Talanoa Hufanga is in line for one of the 49ers’ starting safety positions. Tarvarius Moore and George Odum are the other top contenders to play in Ward’s absence.

The 49ers increased their competition in the defensive backfield this week with the signing of 10-year veteran Tashaun Gipson.

“Losing Jimmie was a huge deal, so we felt we had to get some more depth in here,” Shanahan said.

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Gipson, 32, has played for Cleveland, Jacksonville, Houston and Chicago in his career.

“We wanted to bring in a veteran guy who’d done it before and played in a system somewhat similar and had some experience in it,” Shanahan said. “Gipson has been that. He’s done it at a number of teams and he’s done it at a high level.

“To get the chance to get him in here and compete to make our team and compete with these guys, we felt pretty fortunate about that.”

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