Vernon Davis takes key step for 49ers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis made progress Tuesday even as he was limited in practice.

Davis is trying to bounce back -- in a short work week -- from a hamstring injury that kept him out of Sunday’s 27-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The 49ers play at St. Louis on Thursday. San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Tuesday the team expects Davis to be a game-time decision. The fact that the eighth-year pro got some work Tuesday is significant; Davis didn’t practice all last week.

San Francisco struggled offensively without Davis in Sunday's loss. He had not missed game since 2007.

Meanwhile, as expected, inside linebacker Patrick Willis did not practice Tuesday in the wake of a groin injury suffered in the third quarter Sunday. It would be a remarkably quick turnaround for Willis to be ready for Thursday, though the NFL Network reported earlier Tuesday Willis hopes to play. San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio echoed that sentiment.

“He’s getting better,” Fangio said. “He’s making a lot of progress. It remains to be seen whether he’ll be ready on Thursday or not.”

Michael Wilhoite is set to take Willis' spot if he can’t play.

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha didn’t practice Tuesday because of a knee injury. The team promoted cornerback Darryl Morris from the practice squad to boost the roster if Asomugha can't go.

Special-teams player Bubba Ventrone was limited Tuesday after leaving Sunday's game with a concussion. He would have to pass an NFL-mandated test before being cleared to play Thursday.