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49ers put Aldon Smith on active roster, place Jimmie Ward on IR

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- While the season is just getting started for San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith, the year has come to a close for the Niners’ first-round draft pick, defensive back Jimmie Ward.

Smith, whose nine-game suspension “for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse and the league’s Personal Conduct Policy” has now been served in full, was activated off the exempt list Saturday to the active 53-man roster. Ward, who injured his right foot last week at New Orleans but continued to play against the Saints, was placed on season-ending injured reserve in the corresponding roster move.

Ward had already been ruled out of Sunday’s game at the New York Giants with the injury, which occurred to the same foot that required surgery to repair a Jones fracture in March. Ward had 23 tackles and two passes defensed in eight games.

With Ward out, Perrish Cox will likely slide inside to become the 49ers’ nickelback.

It was also thought the 49ers could activate nose tackle Glenn Dorsey off short-term IR, with Ian Williams also ruled out with a left fibula injury. But no such move was made and, with the Giants likely to use three-wideout sets, the Niners should spend most of their time in nickel packages anyway.

The 49ers have until Monday, when his 21-day practice window closes, to either activate Dorsey, who suffered a torn biceps tendon in his left arm in camp, or place him on season-ending IR.

Quinton Dial or Tony Jerod-Eddie should start at nose tackle against the Giants in the Niners’ base 3-4 defense.