DETROIT -- The up-and-down career of veteran cornerback Dontae Johnson is looking up again.
The 49ers on Saturday elevated Johnson from the practice squad in order to be available for the season opener against the Detroit Lions on Sunday. The 49ers placed wide receiver Jalen Hurd on injured reserve to create space for Johnson.
Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley is not expected to be available for the opener, so the 49ers will turn to either Johnson, Josh Norman or rookie Deommodore Lenoir to fill the starting role. Moseley is listed as doubtful with a knee injury. He did not practice this week.
Norman, who signed with the 49ers on Monday did not rule out the possibility that he could play the bulk of Sunday’s game.
“I don't see nothing wrong with that,” Norman said on Friday. “You always have to be ready to go. That's your job, no matter if you just came off the street or you've been here for a while."
Johnson, 29, an eight-year veteran, began last season on the 49ers' practice squad. He ended up appearing in 14 games with three starts.
"Dontae is just a consummate pro," 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said. "You can always count on Dontae to be ready. And I know he's been through a lot of ups and downs, lon the roster, off the roster, practice squad, but Dontae the man has never wavered. He's the same every day."
The 49ers ruled out Hurd due to a knee injury on Friday. Hurd was rarely able to practice this summer due to tendinitis in his left knee. He will be ineligible to play in at least the first three games of the season after being placed on injured reserve.
Hurd sustained a torn ACL on the first day of camp in 2020. He played 27 snaps on Aug. 29 in the preseason finale against the Las Vegas Raiders. The heavy workload set back Hurd, who has not been able to practice in the two weeks since that game.
The 49ers are not expected to have defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw available, either. Kinlaw was listed as doubtful with a knee condition. The injury kept him out of the final two games last season and required an offseason procedure.
Defensive back Kevin Givens is questionable with a hip condition.
The 49ers did not promote wide receiver Travis Benjamin from the practice squad, which suggests starting receiver Brandon Aiyuk will be the team's primary punt returner. Deebo Samuel will start on one side, and Aiyuk could split time with Trent Sherfield at the receiver position.
Veteran Mohamed Sanu figures to be the team's No. 4 receiver. He can also fill in as a punt returner.
Rookie quarterback Trey Lance was not listed on the 49ers’ official injury report, which means he will be in uniform and available to play. Lance took part in limited practice this week due to an injury to his right index finger.