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Kendall Hunter activated from 49ers' active/PUP list

Last month we cited the San Francisco 49ers as owning the NFL's deepest backfield.

That grade assumed that Kendall Hunter would return from last season's Achilles surgery by September, a development the 49ers confirmed Saturday.

Hunter has been activated from the team's active/physically unable to perform list, refueling San Francisco's ground game with a productive change-of-pace runner behind Frank Gore. Achilles injuries can be tricky, but if Hunter retains his speed, he's arguably one of the NFL's most valuable backups, with an unusual ability to get outside.

Last season, Hunter ran for 371 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries before he was lost for the year in a win over the New Orleans Saints in late November. The 49ers have been cautious with his return.

Behind Gore and Hunter, LaMichael James and Anthony Dixon are competing for snaps. Jewel Hampton and undrafted rookie D.J. Harper remain in the mix, and let's not forget Marcus Lattimore.

If Hunter can play like he did before the injury -- averaging 5.2 yards per carry last season -- San Francisco's strong stable of backs only will gain power.

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