By Jerrell Richardson
At this rate the San Francisco 49ers are going to have an empty injury report. Despite the season at the quarter mark, and a style of play that is as physical as any team in the league, San Francisco continues to get healthier. For the first time this year the team may have every player on the active roster suited up and ready for action for the game on Sunday.
Their opponent though cannot say the same. Buffalo enters the game with a few starters out and several players nursing minor injuries, and as a team will rely on a few back ups to pick up the slack. This is the NFL though and no player on a roster lacks talent, but to face a 49er team more or less at full strength does not bode well for the Bills with or without their starters.
San Francisco 49ers
Isaac Sopoaga (Defensive Tackle)–Ankle and Knee
Carlos Rogers (Cornerback)–Ankle
Brandon Jacobs (Running back)–Knee
Andy Lee (Punter)–Hand
NaVorro Bowman (Linebacker)–Shoulder
Jairus Byrd (Safety)–Hip
Ruvell Martin (Wide Receiver)–Ankle
Chad Rhinehart (Guard)–Calf
Scott Chandler (Tight End)–Head
Donald Jones (Wide Receiver)–Head
Cordy Glenn (Tackle)–Ankle
Spencer Johnson (Defensive Tackle)–Ankle
Kraig Urbik (Guard)–Ankle.
Brandons Jacob Debut
Although the 49ers do have 3 players listed as questionable on their report, all figure to play, or at least would be available if the game were important enough. Running back Brandon Jacobs has already declared himself ready to play and is looking to make his 49er debut.
His addition to the line up will give them yet another potent weapon in the rushing attack and by making his first appearance, Jacobs will have fresh legs. He is more important to the teams resting Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter then his impact on the stat sheet, but there is no doubt that he has the ability to make big plays and figures to play an important role down the stretch for this team.
The rest of the injuries are minor in nature. Both Isaac Sopoaga and Carlos Rogers have been limited all week in practice, but have not missed an actual practice and went through drills with the team, showing that if needed they can both be ready to go if called upon Sunday. Andy Lee and NaVorro Bowman both had full participation on Friday and will be full strength by game time.
Battle in the Trenches
The Bills though will certainly feel their losses though, especially on the offensive side of the ball. They will be without their starting left tackle (Glenn) and right guard (Urbik) and the back up guard is also coming into the game with a calf injury.
For a team that enters the game ranked 4th on the ground and features two great backs, their game plan will certainly need to include moving the ball on the ground, and without two starters on their line will have to play as well as they can to deal with the San Francisco defensive front.
Coaches often say that games are won and lost in the trenches and the 49ers will certainly have the advantage there. Spencer Johnson does not start on defense, but the absence of the defensive tackle will give the team even less depth and could spell trouble if San Francisco can get an early lead and turn to their run game to wear down Buffalo.
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Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. His work can be found on Examiner.com.