Arm ailment adds to QB's woes

The last thing Jeff Garcia needs is a bad arm. The 49ers quarterback already has enough problems to deal with, not to mention other lingering injuries that have contributed to his erratic start and pedestrian performance. But now the three-time Pro Bowler has an injury to his throwing arm that forced him to miss practice Thursday and has him back on the injury list for Sunday night's game against the Seahawks in Seattle.

Garcia experienced pain and swelling in his right forearm after practicing Wednesday and had a Magnetic Resonance Imaging exam Thursday morning after it continued to bother him. The MRI revealed nothing more than a bruise in the area.

"That's exactly what it is, a bruise," Niners coach Dennis Erickson said. "We'll see how it is (Friday). He'll play in the football game (Sunday), but it's a day-to-day thing."

Erickson said Garcia injured his arm at some point during San Francisco's 24-17 victory last week over the Detroit Lions. Garcia apparently did not realize the extent of the injury until participating in Wednesday's practice drills.

Garcia is listed as probable to play Sunday against the Seahawks. Garcia has started 61 consecutive games for the 49ers.

That streak isn't expected to be in jeopardy, but Garcia wore a brace on his right wrist and forearm and he watched practice Thursday. He did not discuss his injury afterward.

"I thought he threw it pretty good (Wednesday)," Erickson said. "You'd like to have him out there (practicing). He's been around long enough that it wouldn't affect him as much as it would others. Obviously, it's going to have to be padded (for Sunday's game)."

Backup Tim Rattay took all the snaps with San Francisco's first-team offense in practice, and he'll be ready to go if there is any reason Garcia can't against Seattle.

The arm problem is another of several minor setbacks for Garcia this season. He was hampered by a bulging disk in his back during the summer and preseason, and a strained groin suffered early in the season appeared to have a negative effect in losses to Cleveland and Minnesota before he shook that problem last week.

The NFL's all-time leader in touchdown passes-to-interception ratio entering the season, Garcia has thrown six touchdown passes and seven interceptions while San Francisco has struggled to a 2-3 start.

He ranks just 27th in the league with a 67.4 passer rating after three straight seasons of finishing among the NFC's top four quarterbacks in that department.

Garcia, of course, is not happy about any of that. When asked earlier this week if he thinks things are close to clicking in San Francisco's passing game, the fiery redhead responded, "I don't think it's even close to where it needs to be. I haven't really found that the consistency's taken place yet, or the efficiency for that matter."

Erickson isn't worried about his embattled quarterback getting too down about the adversity that has been coming at him so far this season.

His spirit is good," Erickson said. "He's a competitor. He's a warrior.


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