The Hayne Plane is back in action.
The Niners placed guard Alex Boone (knee) on injured reserve.
Hayne, a former Australian National Rugby League star, hasn’t played since Week 6. He was cut Oct. 31 and promptly signed to the 49ers‘ practice squad after clearing waivers.
The Aussie said earlier this month he feels more confident in his skills after spending time working on the practice squad.
Hayne primarily worked on special teams during his stint on the active roster earlier this season. The upright runner dazzled in open space during the preseason. The 27-year-old, however, struggled once the regular season began, fumbling three times as a punt returner — including his first attempt in the season opener.
It’s unclear what Hayne’s role might be as he returns to the active roster. He could reclaim the punt return duties from an ineffective Bruce Ellington.
Hayne could also see time in a banged up backfield. The Niners already ruled out Shaun Draughn for Sunday’s tilt with the Detroit Lions. That left only short-yardage back Kendall Gaskins and newly acquired DuJuan Harris as running backs, before Hayne’s promotion. The 49ers lost Carlos Hyde (foot), Reggie Bush (knee) and Mike Davis (hand) to injuries this season — Davis could return from IR Boomerang in Week 17.
Boone, who has been out since Week 14 with an MCL tear, might have played his final snap in a Niners jersey. The guard is a free agent this offseason and will be one of the top interior linemen on the market.