A LaMichael James sighting might be in the works.

It's the halfway point of the 49ers' season, and the running back appeared in two of the first eight games, collecting 31 yards on seven carries and 29 yards on a kick return.

Coach Jim Harbaugh, upon returning from a week and a half on the road, hinted Tuesday that James could get more playing time in the second half. He said he'd like to "get LaMichael in the mix. We want to get that going. He's too good of a player not to be playing."

On whether he meant on offense or special teams, Harbaugh said, "Yeah, both of those areas."

Tuesday's trade deadline came and went, and James - who had been rumored in trade talks because he's rarely used - remained a 49er. He has been inactive three straight games, including Sunday's in London, and recently expressed on Twitter his frustration about his lack of playing time.

A second-round pick out of Oregon, James is the school's career rushing leader and second on the all-time Pac-10/Pac-12 career rushing list with 5,082 yards.

At the halfway point, and with his 6-2 team on a five-game winning streak, Harbaugh was predictably upbeat.

"There sure are a lot of positives," he said. "We're playing very good team defense. Special teams is really rolling. Offensively, we've done a great job of reducing the pre-snap penalties, indirect-snap penalties and post-snap penalties and have done that very well defensively. We've almost eliminated them. That's great that we've taken that stride.

"Same with the special teams. It's really a dramatic improvement in terms of playing disciplined football."

Areas to improve on?

"Every aspect," Harbaugh said. "There's room for it. It's not going to be huge leaps at this point."