By Jerrell Richardson

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 27: Jimmy Graham #80 and Darren Sproles #43 of the New Orleans Saints line up for a play against the Buffalo Bills at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 27, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

(Credit, Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

 San Francisco is coming off a physical game against the Carolina Panthers in which they were beat up. With three 49er players having to leave the game with various ailments, San Francisco had legitimate injuries concerns this week. However, things have progressed as well as they could have hoped, and with the exception of Garrett Celek, the 49ers should not be missing any key pieces for this week’s pivotal match up with the Saints.

The concussions suffered last week by tight end Vernon Davis and safety Eric Reid do not appear serious enough to keep either player off the field this week. Both were cleared and back on the practice field Wednesday and Thursday, and while a concussion is not a minor injury, it’s not the type that will cause any let down in their play. If both starters clear their final tests on game day, Davis and Reid will not only be suited up, but will be at their normal selves and able to contribute to the team.

While tight end Garret Celek’s hamstring has held him out of practice this week, he has not been completely ruled out of the game. However, due to the extent of his injury and the depth the team has at the position, the team can make do without him. Like Celek, fullback Bruce Miller is dealing with a hamstring injury. However his is not nearly as severe as his teammates, and with no real replacement at the fullback position, expect Miller to be on the field Sunday.

The rest of the 49ers players on this week’s report are fine. It’s no surprise to see Mario Manningham on this list, and his knee has not kept out of any practice this week, while Andy Lee, Frank Gore, and Mike Iupati headline the list of players who were full participants in practice, meaning that they are as close to 100% as they are going to be for this late in the season.

While Vernon Davis and Eric Reid could miss this week’s game, it does not appear likely. The same can’t be said for Garrett Celek though, who should and sit out regardless, unless Davis is a late scratch. The rest of the team will be available and needed for this all important road game.

San Francisco 49ers

Did Not Participate In Practice:

  • Garrett Celek (Tight End): Hamstring
  • Ray McDonald (Defensive Tackle): Biceps

Limited In Practice:

  • Vernon Davis (Tight End): Concussion
  • Mario Manningham (Wide Receiver): Knee
  • Bruce Miller (Running Back): Hamstring
  • Eric Reid (Safety): Concussion
  • Dan Skuta (Linebacker): Foot
  • Justin Smith (Defensive  Tackle): Shoulder

Full Participation In Practice:

  • Tarell Brown (Cornerback): Knee
  • Quinton Dial (Defensive Tackle): Ankle
  • Frank Gore (Running Back): Ankle
  • Mike Iupati (Guard): Knee
  • Andy Lee (Punter): Neck

One Name Stands Out For New Orleans

Despite having nine players on their injury report, New Orleans has only one that they are worried about, and that’s Jimmy Graham. Like the 49ers, the Saints have two players getting over concussions. However, unlike San Francisco, safety Kenny Vaccaro and tight end Benjamin Watson are both backups and the team can do without them. While the Saints defensive book ends Akeim Hicks (back) and Cameron Jordan (ankle) are not 100 percent, they are close to it, and will not be hampered in their pursuits of Colin Kaepernick. Linebacker Curtis Lofton, who leads the team in tackles, will be very close to his usual self despite dealing with a gimpy hamstring and ankle, and although he will be tested, will be up to the challenge, health wise.

Where the problem lies is with Jimmy Graham. The tight end is the heart and soul of their offense, and while he has continued to not only play, but play well with his various injuries, the fact remains that he is banged up. He has been limited in practice this week and while he is in no danger of missing the game, gives the defense a better chance of covering him. If his injuries are enough to allow the 49ers to neutralize him, than the New Orleans offense will have to find a new way to move the chains.

New Orleans Saints

Did Not Participate In Practice:

  • Kenny Vaccaro (Safety): Concussion
  • Benjamin Watson (Tight End): Concussion

Limited In Practice:

  • Jimmy Graham (Tight End): Elbow, Foot
  • Akiem Hicks (Defensive End): Back
  • Cameron Jordan (Defensive End): Ankle
  • Curtis Lofton (Linebacker): Hamstring, Ankle

Full Participation In Practice:

  • Roman Harper (Safety): Knee
  • Malcom Jenkins (Safety): Knee
  • Tyrunn Walker (Defensive Tackle): Knee

For more 49ers news and updates, visit 49ers Central.

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. Jerrell is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on


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