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Ford misses 49ers practice with unspecified neck injury

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Dee Ford did not practice Thursday due to an unspecified neck condition that 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh downplayed when he met with the media Thursday.

Saleh, on a video call, said he was “not overly concerned” with the edge rusher's status.

The 49ers leave for the East Coast on Friday to play their Week 2 game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The 49ers got some good news Thursday, as cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon is advancing through the NFL’s concussion protocol. He took part in limited work after being held out of practice on Wednesday.

Tight end George Kittle did not practice for the second consecutive day due to a left knee sprain.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday that Kittle would not practice this week but the team was still hopeful he would be available to play Sunday against the Jets.

Wide receiver Richie James (hamstring) and cornerback Jason Verrett (hamstring) did not practice and are not expected to suit up for the game.

Ford has been plagued by injuries since coming to the 49ers in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs last year.

He missed the last couple of weeks of training camp this summer with a calf strain. He did not appear on the injury report prior to the 49ers’ Week 1 game against the Arizona Cardinals. Ford played 46 of the team’s 82 defensive snaps and was credited with three tackles.

In his first season with the 49ers, he registered 6.5 sacks in 11 games and required extensive offseason surgery on his left knee. He described the challenge battling knee tendinitis last season as playing on a “blown tire.”

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The Jets, who will not have running back Le’Veon Bell available due to a hamstring injury, might not have their top receiver, either. Jamison Crowder did not practice Thursday due to a hamstring injury.

Frank Gore, 37, the top rusher in 49ers history, will get the start for the Jets. He was held out of practice Thursday for non-injury reasons.

49ers practice report

Did not practice: DE Dee Ford (neck), WR Richie James (hamstring), TE George Kittle (knee), CB Jason Verrett (hamstring)

Limited: CB Ahkello Witherspoon (concussion)

Full participation: WR Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring), C Ben Garland (ankle)

Jets practice report

Did not practice: WR Jamison Crowder (hamstring), RB Frank Gore (not injury related)

Limited: LB Tarell Basham (hip), QB Joe Flacco (neck), RB La'Mical Perine (ankle), LB Avery Williamson (hamstring)

Full participation: RB Kalen Ballage (hamstring), T Mekhi Becton (knee), TE Daniel Brown (hamstring), T George Fant (shoulder), T Alex Lewis (shoulder), LB Frankie Luvu (neck)