By Jerrell Richardson
Gore and Staley Good to Go
The 49ers come into their very important game against division rival Arizona completely healthy. The only player who has missed any time in practice this week is Joe Staley. After recovering from a concussion last week, the offensive tackle has been battling a cough, but returned to practice on Saturday and will be ready to go on Monday. The only other concern is the ribs of Frank Gore, who showed no signs of being slowed down by his injury during this week of practice. San Francisco had the daunting task of playing a physical team after a short turn last week and is now reaping the rewards. Since their Thursday Night game, they have had the luxury of resting their injuries and will enter this game refreshed as well as healthy.
Cardinals Missing Backups
The Cardinals will have the majority of their roster at their disposal, as only3 players are in jeopardy of not suiting up and two are back up defensive backs. With a plethora of players entering the game with some sort with some injury though, they can only hope that none become more serious throughout the course of the game. The Cardinals will face the unenviable task of facing one of the most physical teams in the league and their toughness will be put on display as the 49ers will look to wear them down and outlast their division foe. The biggest concern though is at the most important position on the field, the quarterback.
Can John Skelton Make It?
The Arizona starter has varied from week to week, and with Kevin Kolb out this week due to a rib injury, John Skelton will be getting the starting nod. Skelton is not 100% though, and comes into the game with a gimpy ankle, putting a ton of pressure on the Cardinals offensive line to keep him upright, and make sure that Ryan Lindley (3rd string) does not make an appearance. It’s no surprise that the Cardinals enter the game with concerns about their health of quarterback(s) as their offensive line has allowed 35 sacks on the year, which is by far tops in the league. For them to have any chance in this game they will need to keep the 49ers pass rush out of the pocket.
If the Cardinals can do a better job in protecting John Skelton, then they will be in a position to make the 49ers earn this one. The fact that they have so many players listed as injured is not good, but no real impact player (outside of Kevin Kolb) will be missing. In a game that will determine so much in terms of the division standings, with both teams coming into the game with their full roster available, the winner will have to earn it fair and square.
San Francisco 49ers
Tackle: Joe Staley—Illness
Wide Receiver: Mario Mannigham—Shoulder
Quarterback: Alex Smith—Right Finger
Running Back: Frank Gore—Rib
Punter: Andy Lee—Hand
Linebacker: Tavares Gooden—Elbow
Quarterback: Kevin Kolb—Ribs
Cornerback: Gregory Toler–Hamstring
Cornerback: Jamell Fleming—Back
Tight End: Jim Dray—Knee
Tight End: Todd Heap—Knee
Safety: Kerry Rhodes—Back
Running back: Anthony Sherman—Knee
Guard: Adam Synder—Quadricep
Defensive Tackle: Darnell Dockett—Hamstring
Safety: James Sanders—Knee
Cornerback: Michael Adams—Hamstring
Defensive End: Calais Campbell—Quadricep
Linebacker: Quentin Groves—Hamstring
Linebacker: Paris Lenon—Ankle
Linebacker: O’Brien Schofield—Knee
Quarterback: John Skelton—Ankle
Linebacker: Reggie Walker—Head
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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.