Injury report & analysis: 49ers vs. Cardinals

The 49ers and Arizona Cardinals both are relatively healthy heading into the regular season with each team having just three players listed on its first injury report entering Sunday's opener at the new Cardinals Stadium. The difference is two of Arizona's injured are listed as out, and both of those players were starters entering the summer.


OUT: TE Delanie Walker (shoulder)
DOUBTFUL: LB Parys Haralson (foot)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Shawntae Spencer (hamstring)


OUT: OT Oliver Ross (knee), LB Karlos Dansby (toe)
PROBABLE: QB Matt Leinart (shoulder)

NOTE: Haralson, Walker, Ross and Dansby each missed practice with their respective teams on Wednesday.

INJURY ANALYSIS: Spencer practiced Wednesday and is expected to start Sunday's game despite his questionable status. He returned to practice last week from a slight hamstring tear that occurred in mid-August. His impact could be noticeable on a defense that struggled without him during the preseason. ... Haralson won't be back from his training camp foot injury until next week at the earliest, but he has returned to practice. Had Haralson remained healthy this summer, he might be in the starting lineup today at OLB in a 3-4 system. The Niners have been adjusting their defense in recent weeks without him, but he'll challenge for immediate playing time when he returns to action. ... Walker is out at least until Week 3 with his shoulder injury. The 49ers will miss his athleticism and potential impact on special teams and in some offensive packages. ... Ross is recovering from knee surgery and told Arizona reporters last week that he had a chance to make it back for the opener. A more realistic time frame now is Week 3, and Ross will be replaced in the starting lineup by Brandon Gorin, whom the Cardinals acquired in a trade with New England. The word coming out of Arizona is that it may be difficult for Ross - who had a so-so debut last year after signing with the Cards in 2005 as a free agent - to get his job back once healthy if Gorin plays well in the opener. ... After a breakout season on the strong side last year, the Cards were expecting Dansby to be one of their defensive stars this year, but he was slowed throughout the summer with thumb and toe injuries. Calvin Pace will start in Dansby's place. Pace, who was moved this year from defensive end, has dazzled observers in his new position since making the switch. ... Leinart will be ready to step in should starter Kurt Warner go down. Despite minimal experience this summer after a long holdout, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner already is entrenched as Warner's backup.

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