Back to business after season-opening Sunday off

While the rest of the NFL got back to business today, the 49ers had a rare season-opening Sunday off. After watching films of their 16-13 victory over the Giants and going through a light walkthrough practice on Friday, coach Steve Mariucci gave his players a much-deserved weekend off. But Mooch and his staff spent the weekend preparing for what's up next: The Denver Broncos.

After what they've been through the past month, the Niners could use the break. Their crazy preseason schedule - five games in 26 days - was followed by a transcontinental flight to the Eastern seaboard to play the first Thursday night season opener in NFL history.

But they emerged from that chaotic sequence with a 1-0 start, and that's the bottom line as the Niners try to settle into a regular pattern again as a consequential early stretch of schedule looms.

"I would say we're drained," Mariucci said. "I think we're physically drained, emotionally drained. We felt releived. It was a different kind of win. I walked off just tired and exhausted and happy we won, but there wasn't any champagne bottles pouring around in that locker room. We got it, it was close, we'll take it, now let's get better."

Mariucci said the 49ers would wait until receiving tapes of Sunday's Rams-Broncos game to complete the preliminary scouting report for the Broncos that will be introduced to players Monday. And when the team assembles again, the Niners will have a better idea of what personnel the team will have available for that game.

That should include almost everybody as the Niners came through the Giants game relatively unscathed.

Pro Bowl center Jeremy Newberry had the cast removed on his right hand, because doctors "wanted him to move his finger around a little bit," Mariucci said, and he'll have the cast put back on Monday. Linebacker Saleem Rasheed (quad) is expected to practice Monday and should be ready for the Broncos. Andre Carter (knee contusion) also is listed as probable. Defensive tackle Jim Flanigan is questionable, but both guard Ron Stone and defensive end John Engelberger played Thursday and made it through the game fine.

The biggest health issues surround the knee injuries of linebacker Jeff Ulbrich and backup offensive lineman Matt Willig. Both are unlikely to play against the Broncos. Willig experienced inflammation problems in his right knee last week, and he underwent arthroscopic surgery Friday.

"Matt's probably the biggest concern," Mariucci said. "His swelling is draining down into his calf, so we're trying to get the swelling out of there. He's going to be immobilized for a few days to see if we can get it calmed down."



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