Barlow leaves practice with knee problem

The 49ers pulled tailback Kevan Barlow out of practice Wednesday after he experienced problems with his sore right knee. The team believes Barlow may have ligament damage in the knee and he was scheduled to undergo a MRI exam later in the afternoon.

Before leaving the team facility to take the MRI, Barlow said not to worry.

"I'm doing good," he said. "It's just a little sore. I'll be straight. I felt like I could have practiced. But to be on the safe side, we'll take a look at it."

Niners coach Dennis Erickson indicated Barlow could have a sprained medical collateral ligament in the knee.

Barlow injured the knee in the first quarter of last Sunday's 30-27 loss at New Orleans when his leg got twisted awkwardly while he was being tackled.

"When it happened, I felt it, and I laid there for a second and bounced up," said Barlow, who immediately left the field as Terry Jackson was coming in to replace him on the next play anyway. "So I had enough time to gather myself. I felt it during the game, but the adrenaline was rushing and I played through it."

Barlow played into the fourth quarter against the Saints and finished as the game's leading rusher with 114 yards on 20 carries, including touchdown runs of 1 and 10 yards. He also ripped off a 60-yard gain. But he left the game for good with a rib contusion midway through San Francisco's first drive of the fourth quarter.

It was Barlow's knee that was bothering him more on Monday. The soreness continued Tuesday as, Barlow said, he, "came in and iced it down a little bit and it felt like regular soreness. I thought I'd go out there and run it off (Wednesday)."

But when Wednesday came, Barlow still felt the soreness and realized his knee obviously wasn't at full strength.

"I was running out there, and I couldn't really explode the way I really wanted to," he said.

Barlow ranks fourth in the NFC in rushing after two weeks with 190 yards on 39 carries, a 4.9 average. If the MRI exam reveals a MCL sprain, and the Niners opt to keep him out of Sunday's game against Seattle, Erickson said he would use Jackson and Jamal Robertson equally at the position.

But Barlow said that won't be necessary.

"Don't get your hopes up," Barlow said. "You don't got no story or nothing about me this week, because I'm playing. I'm straight. I'll be able to play this week."

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