SANTA CLARA -- Wide receiver Mario Manningham and cornerback Eric Wright have been activated by the 49ers and can make their season debuts as early as Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

To create additional roster space, the 49ers waived 11th-year cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who appeared in three games before hyperextending a knee and then getting buried on the depth chart.

Manningham will be counted on to boost the NFL's last-ranked passing attack (189.9 yards per game). Last season's second-leading receiver behind Michael Crabtree, Manningham comes off the physically-unable-to-perform list after battling back from a Dec. 23 knee injury.

San Francisco 49ers’ Nnamdi Asomugha (24) during the first day of training camp at the 49ers training facility in Santa Clara, Calif. on Thursday,
San Francisco 49ers' Nnamdi Asomugha (24) during the first day of training camp at the 49ers training facility in Santa Clara, Calif. on Thursday, July 25, 2013. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) ( Nhat V. Meyer )

Wright, a San Francisco native, originally was traded from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the 49ers during training camp, but that deal got nullified by a failed physical. Wright subsequently was released by the Buccaneers, and once the 49ers signed him Aug. 8, they put him on the reserve/non-football-illness list.

Last week, the 49ers also activated linebacker Aldon Smith and waived three players: linebackers Jermaine Cunningham and Nate Stupar, as well as wide receiver Marlon Moore, who was signed Monday by the Miami Dolphins.

Asomugha served as the 49ers' No. 3 cornerback the first three games and hasn't played since then. He hyperextended his right knee making a tackle in a Sept. 22 loss to the Indinapolis Colts, and while that injury sidelined him the ensuing two games, he was considered a healthy scratch the past three contests.

In his three games, he totaled three tackles, two passes defensed and one pass-interference penalty (a 40-yard infraction in a Week 2 loss at Seattle).

Asomugha acted as a model teammate since his April 3 arrival on a one-year, $1 million deal. He worked hard to repair an image that got hammered in Philadelphia, and he did so by speaking and acting in a humble fashion, while also staying after practice to hone his craft often alongside a younger defensive back.

Off the field, Asomugha married actress Kerry Washington in June, and the couple is expecting its first child in five months, according to Us magazine

For more on the 49ers, see Cam Inman's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CamInman.