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Rattay To Go Under Knife Tuesday; Expected To Miss 4 Months
Following up on a previous update. ... Tim Rattay will have surgery Tuesday morning to repair the torn groin he suffered during Friday's workout. The procedure will be performed by team orthopedist Dr. Michael Dillingham.

"The muscle came off the bone, it was obviously serious," head coach Dennis Erickson said. "He's looking at anywhere from 3-4 months of healing time. We all felt that surgery was the best option and would give him the best chance to heal."

The blow is a crushing one for Rattay who entered his first camp as the 49ers starting quarterback. The good news, if there is some to be found, is that the initial diagnosis has him returning to the field sometime in training camp.

According to a Jan. 1 report in The American Journal of Sports Medicine, a player can resume running eight weeks after groin surgery and compete at 12 weeks. Two case studies on NFL linebackers in that article told how they returned to action three months later free of pain and showed no limitation in movement in a review one year later.

As Contra Costa Times staff writer Cam Inman noted this morning, Erickson said he was counting on Rattay, a four-year backup, to develop more by getting extensive playing time in the exhibition season. Now Rattay might be healthy in time for only the final one or two exhibition games.

Erickson, however, remains optimistic.

"Tim Rattay should be, probably will be, our starter for the opening game," the coach explained. "He is going to be our guy. This sets his progress back because he'll miss this camp and the two in June. But we expect him to be our guy.

"He'll be back. It's not a season ending injury by any means."

Second-year player Ken Dorsey is Rattay's backup and will step in with the first-unit.

Dorsey had a quarterback rating of 82.5 and threw three touchdown passes during the preseason last year as a rookie. He did not play in the regular season as the team's No. 3 quarterback behind Jeff Garcia and Rattay.

According to San Jose Mercury News staffer Daniel Brown, Dorsey, who spent much of the off-season pumping iron in an attempt to pack muscle onto a frame that was not ready for the NFL last year, worked with the first-team Saturday for just the second time since the team drafted him before last season.

He is throwing the ball harder than he did a year ago, in part because of an off-season regimen that put n emphasis on adding strength.

"You don't feel the difference when you make a perfect throw," Dorsey said. "You feel it when the ball doesn't come out right but it still has enough to get to where you wanted it."

Dorsey, who is 6-foot-4, said he weighs 220 pounds, up from his listed weight of 208 of last year. Arm strength has never been at the top of his resume; his strengths at the University of Miami were his poise and his ability to read defenses.

"I just like his field presence, his coolness and his sense of the game," general manager Terry Donahue said. "I like his relationship with his teammates. I like how he conducts himself."

"My outlook on the whole deal hasn't changed," Dorsey said. "But I feel a lot more prepared. I can do things on the field to help this team win. Tim's going to be back and I just have to keep doing the things that I need to do to make myself better. That's important because now, with the first team, you've got a lot of guys depending on you and you've got to go out and perform."

Meanwhile, Brown reports that team officials will convene this week to debate the merits of adding an experienced quarterback. Kurt Warner and Kerry Collins have been deemed expendable by their teams but would be expensive options for a team just $1.3 million under the salary cap.

Brown went on to suggest that cheaper possibilities include journeymen such as Steve Beuerlein (who is expected to be released by the Denver Broncos) and Jeff Blake. Jon Kitna, an Erickson favorite, could be available via trade because Carson Palmer is in as the Cincinnati Bengals' starter.

Then again, the 49ers might simply turn the reins over to Dorsey and the other young quarterbacks.

"One of the possibilities," Donahue said, "is that we don't do anything."

Also of interest. ...

In search of replacements for last year's starting receivers -- Terrell Owens and Tai Streets, the 49ers have 14 wideouts at this mini-camp.

Erickson said that starters Cedrick Wilson and Brandon Lloyd are "head and shoulders above everybody else," but he added that Arland Bruce and Arnaz Battle stand out from the pack.

"When I say heads and shoulders, they have experience; they know what's going on," Erickson said of Wilson and Lloyd. "The two young guys, Rashaun [Woods] and Derrick Hamilton, you can see that they have a lot of physical talent and now it's just a matter of learning."

Battle's rookie season was slowed by injury, but now fully healed he has impressed during the first two days of camp.

"Arnaz has really kind of jumped out and has had a good three practices," Erickson said. "He is really showing some things out here."