First Look At: The San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco will be without one of its big weapons with running back Frank Gore on injured reserve after suffering a fractured right hip on Monday at Arizona.

If they are going to go to the playoffs, the 49ers will have to do so without the guy who has accounted for more than a third of their offensive production through 11 games.

Running back Frank Gore suffered a fractured right hip in the first quarter of Monday's win in Arizona and his return this season looks bleak. Without Gore, the team will rely on nine-year veteran Brian Westbrook and rookie Anthony Dixon, who had 15 carries combined entering Monday's game. The 49ers activated former Packers running back DeShawn Wynn from the practice squad with Gore ruled out for the season and placed on injured reserve on Tuesday.

All Gore had done was carry the ball 203 times for 853 yards (4.2 average) and three touchdowns and catch a team-high 46 passes for 452 yards and two more touchdowns.

"I just think that it's just a freak injury that happened with Frank," 49ers coach Mike Singletary said in a conference call with Packers beat reporters on Wednesday. "Don't really know which play it happened on. You can look at the film and it looked like one guy fell on him one time. That can happen in any number of ways. But as far as how are we going to miss him? Big shoes to fill for Brian Westbrook and we're just going to do the best we can to put him in the best situation to be able to try to run and make plays."

Westbrook carried the ball 23 times against the Cardinals. He did not get a lot of carries in 2009, his final season with the Eagles, and had only five carries through 10 games for the 49ers.

As a result, Westbrook said his body felt better than it has in recent memory. It didn't take him long to find a rhythm, either as he ran for 136 yards behind an offensive line that blew the Cardinals off the ball.

"Not bad, not bad at all," Singletary said.

Still, Westbrook has never had to endure the pounding the 49ers' traditional offense requires of its top running back. And it seems likely that the big-bodied Dixon, a sixth-round pick in April, will get a bigger percentage of the carries.

Dixon had 14 carries for 54 yards against Arizona and scored from 1 yard.

News and notes

— TE Vernon Davis gave an emotional, tear-filled speech before Monday's game. Said Singletary: "Vernon is a guy that's very emotional. He loves the game. He loves football. Our guys know that. He's a guy that makes a big difference. There were a few guys with tears in their eyes before the game. It was interesting."

— Despite only four wins, the 49ers are merely a game off the NFC West lead. That has been a rallying cry for the 49ers. "It's a very good feeling," quarterback Troy Smith said. "We've been saying it pretty much the whole year — even though it's been kind of topsy-turvy, we control our destiny. If we win out, if we keep winning games, then we'll be right where we want to be."

— C David Baas suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter. Baas also suffered a concussion during training camp, and his status for Sunday is up in the air. If he can't play, Tony Wragge would start at center.

— S Reggie Smith had a solid outing in his second start. The better Smith plays, the more willing the 49ers would be to part ways with Dashon Goldson, a soon-to-be unrestricted free agent.

— OT Barry Sims rebounded from a poor performance last week against Tampa Bay. Sims had not even been active prior to that game and was decidedly rusty.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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