49ers LB Aldon Smith did not practice Thursday, but he did make his first appearance at practice since injuring his left hip during the team’s first preseason game on Friday. Smith had been walking with a noticeable limp and with the aid of a cane. On Friday, he was without the cane, and he appeared to be walking just fine.

With Smith and fellow OLB Ahmad Brooks not practicing, most of the first-team reps went to Parys Haralson and Eric Bakhtiari.

Stanford OC likes TE Reuland as a blocker: TE Konrad Reuland’s chances of making the roster got a whole lot better Thursday when it was announced that TE Nate Byham was waived. The question about Reuland is this: Can he be a capable blocker? That's something Byham excelled at.

Stanford OC Pep Hamilton, who coached WRs at Stanford during Reuland’s senior year, said Reuland’s blocking was one of his strengths in college. Hamilton stopped by 49ers practice earlier in training camp and said he thinks Reuland has progressed well in that department but that it’s still a tough job.

“Blocking in the NFL is always tough for a tight end because every one of those guys faces a mismatch almost every play,” Hamilton said. “There aren’t too many guys like Vernon Davis out there.”

Hamilton was the QB coach for the 49ers in 2006 and served in the same capacity with the Bears from 2007 to 2009.

Stanford DC says Thomas a fit at nickel: Undrafted rookie S Michael Thomas doesn’t have a good chance to make the team’s 53-man roster, but the Stanford product is an intriguing candidate for the practice squad because of his instincts and long-term potential.

Initially, that will likely be on special teams, but Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason said Thomas could eventually develop into a good NFL nickel.

“He’s a natural for that position,” Mason said. “We used him there when we could, but we had to use him at safety [last year] because he was one of the best tacklers on our team.”

Injury notes: Delanie Walker missed practice for the fourth straight day. CB Perrish Cox was out for the second straight day but went through a series of running drills with a trainer on a side field. Rookie LB Cam Johnson didn't practice for the fifth consecutive day.

Jacobs prepping for short-yardage role: For the second day in a row, RB Brandon Jacobs received several carries in short-yardage situations, further cementing the notion that he’ll be the team’s primary short-yardage back.

Preparing for road environment: The team moved speakers near the practice field and blasted music during 11-on-11 practice to help the offense prepare for Saturday’s game at Houston, the first road game of the season.

Follow 49ers reporter Kyle Bonagura on Twitter: @CBSSportsNFLSF and @KyleBonagura.

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