Another cornerback goes down

On Monday morning, Mike Rumph talked about the need for him "to step up and be the man at right corner" for the 49ers after it was announced Jason Webster would be sidelined for up to two months with an ankle injury. On Tuesday morning, Rumph was carted off the field and limped into the locker room after hurting his groin during practice. The injury is not believed to be serious, but the Niners could be without two of their top three corners for Saturday's exhibition game against New Orleans.

Rumph underwent a Magnetic Resonance Imaging exam that revealed a mild strain of his left groin. There's a chance he could return to practice this week and play against the Saints, though the team likely will hold him out of that game if the injury continues to linger.

"He pulled a groin like about 40 other guys on this football team," Niners coach Dennis Erickson said. "You usually react fairly fast to groins."

Just the same, a hush fell over practice when Rumph was injured after he attempted to jam a receiver while he backpedaled in a 7-on-7 passing drill. As Rumph limped to the sideline, it was another sinking feeling for defensive coordinator Jim Mora, who saw Webster go down with a right knee injury during 7-on-7 drills on Sunday. Webster is expected to be out from 4 to 8 weeks.

"I had a little relapse over there," Mora said. "I felt like I was standing on the sidelines of the Tampa game instead on the sidelines here at Santa Clara."

Mora was referring to the Niners' season-ending loss at Tampa Bay in the NFC playoff semifinals in January, when San Francisco lost starting left corner Ahmed Plummer to a dislocated shoulder in the first quarter after previously losing Webster two weeks before.

Rumph and third-year player Rashad Holman finished that game as the team's front-line cornerbacks. With Rumph out, Holman would move into the starting lineup opposite Plummer.

"It's tough when you look at what happened with Jason. He's had a lot of bad luck over last season and then coming into this camp," Holman said. "And Mike, it was unfortunate him hurting his leg like that today. But I'm ready. I feel confident I can step in. My whole thing this camp is showing the coaches that I'm ready. I feel pretty good about my situation as far as being on the field right now."

Mora called Holman one of the team's most improved defensive players over last year. The team is confident he can step in, but Holman was supposed to be vying for playing time as the third or fourth corner this season instead of possibly being pushed into the starting lineup.

So the Niners aren't exactly feeling too good about their cornerback situation right now.

"There's nothing you can do about it," Mora said. "Obviously, it bothers me. It bothers us all. The season is coming up and we're counting on these guys. By the same token, I know in this league, you can't worry about it. You have to get the next guy ready the best you can.

"I just try to put a positive spin on it. It's going to give Rashad a chance to get more work. It's going to give Fred Weary and Antuan (Simmons) and Jimmy (Williams) a chance. So we'll be all right."


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