Harbaugh's preparations include Locker

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The San Francisco 49ers’ preparation for Sunday’s game at Tennessee took a slight turn when Titans quarterback Jake Locker returned to practice Wednesday.

Locker has been out for the past two weeks with hip and knee injuries, and the Titans still plan to start Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday.

Nevertheless, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said the team has to be aware that Locker could play, however unlikely that might be.

“You’re never in a position of knowing until you know, until they’re ruled out,” Harbaugh said. “So, yeah, I mean, there has to be awareness and a preparation there.”

Harbaugh knows plenty about Locker. He faced the University of Washington product while he was the coach at Stanford.

“Well, I’ve always thought this, he’s like a running back with his ability to run the football,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve always thought that. And I’ve seen it up close, been defeated by it. He’s evolved, grown. He’s always been an extremely tough competitor. That’s why you, knowing the competitor he is, if there’s any possible way that he would play he’ll be out there.”

Still, the 49ers are also preparing to face Fitzpatrick, because that is the more likely scenario.