Steve Young, still sore from last week's pounding by the Green Bay Packers, was downgraded from probable to questionable for San Francisco's game against Carolina on Sunday.
Young, suffering from what the 49ers described as an abdominal muscle strain, took a limited amount of snaps Friday, his third abbreviated workout in as many days.
"I feel like by Sunday, I'll be in a spot where I can play," Young said. "So far, it's inhibited me from moving around but it's gotten dramatically better during the week."
Ty Detmer, an offseason free agent acquisition and a former starter for Philadelphia, would start against the Panthers (1-7) if Young is unable to go for San Francisco (6-2).
"He'll try to go," coach Steve Mariucci said. "If he can, he'll play and play well. If he can't, then Ty Detmer has been getting a lot of practice snaps and he'll be ready to go."
Young has started 24 straight games, including playoffs, but took a beating in last Sunday's 36-22 loss at Green Bay. He was hit constantly and sacked nine times, the most in his career.
Mariucci said it's uncertain at what point in the Green Bay game Young was injured.
"I want to say a lot of the sacks took place late in the game when we were trying to throw the football. But he got hit on the first play of the game, too," Mariucci said. "I think it was just an accumulation of the entire game."
No mention was made of Young's injury until Thursday, when the 49ers listed him as probable.
Whoever starts at quarterback for San Francisco will be playing behind a revamped line against a formidable Carolina pass rush led by Kevin Greene, who has a league-high 12 sacks.
The 49ers shuffled their line this week duto an injury to center Chris Dalman, who tore a knee ligament in the Green Bay game, and because of the ineffective play of left tackle Jamie Brown, who has struggled against speed rushers.
In all, changes were made to three of the five positions.
Backup center Steve Gordon will make his first NFL start in place of Dalman and Brown was benched in favor of Derrick Deese, who shifted from right to left tackle. Kirk Scrafford, who came out of retirement a week ago and saw spot duty in relief of Brown against the Packers, moved into the lineup at right tackle.
Deese played left tackle and Scrafford played right tackle for the 49ers most of last season.
The 49ers activated center Jeremy Newberry from the physically unable to perform list to back up Gordon. To make room for him, the team waived third-year player Iheanyi Uwaezuoke, who had three receptions for 67 yards as a backup receiver.
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