By Jerrell Richardson
Football is a contact sport, and the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks will certainly get their fair share of contact Sunday Night. Both teams have a physical running game, a hard hitting defense, and like to impose their will on their opponent. The NFC West foes are fighting for playoff positioning and both teams will be prepared to leave it all on the field. Unfortunately, their style of play has taken a toll on the players and both teams enter this important rematch a little banged up. San Francisco has far more players on their list, and one very important name, but the severity of the Seahawks’ injuries can’t be ignored. In the end, neither team really has an advantage on the injury front for this prime time match up.
No Insignificant Names Or Injuries For Seattle
Although they only have nine players on their injury list, the importance of the names and fact that six have completely sat out at least one day of practice is not good for the Seahawks. The Seattle secondary that played so well in the first meeting will not be 100 percent with several hamstring injuries and could be without at least one starter. Depending on a few game time decisions they could also have serious issues with depth in their secondary, which may open the door for a big play in the 49er passing attack. On the offensive side of the ball, Russell Wilson’s number one target Sydney Rice is questionable with a knee injury, and Marshawn Lynch has a sore back. Lynch participated in full practice on Thursday and Friday though, and Beast Mode will be ready to go for the game.
Not As Bad As It Seems
The 49ers injury report is very misleading. They have almost twice the numbers of injured players as their opponent, and all of them are very significant names, but only two (Clark Haggans and Justin Smith) are in any jeopardy of missing the game. The problem is that Justin Smith is the heart of the San Francisco defensive front, and after injuring his elbow last week, he did not practice at all this week. He is invaluable in both the run and pass defense, and it was no coincidence that New England ran up and down the field last week after he was injured. Justin Smith is as tough as they come, and if there is any way he is allowed to play, he will be on the field. The concern is that he plays in the trenches and will be subject to a ton of punishment. The team will have an interesting decision with a playoff spot secure if Smith is iffy at kickoff, as without him they will be seriously undermanned, but can’t afford to have him aggravated or prolong this injury.
The other players who are questionable will be ready to play if needed, but due to depth at their positions could miss the game if needed. The 49ers have to worry about ending the season heading in the right direction, but also need to make sure that they are healthy. Tavares Gooden, Mario Manningham, Clark Haggans and Will Tukuafu will be needed down the stretch and it might be in the best interest of the team just to rest them. The 49ers and Seahawks will engage in a physical battle, and will be lucky to finish the game without needing to add any more names.
San Francisco 49ers
*Linebacker: Clark Haggans–Shoulder
*Defensive Tackle: Justin Smith–Elbow
*Linebacker: Tavares Gooden–Ribs
*Wide Receiver: Mario Manningham–Shoulder
*Defensive Tackle: Will Tukuafu–Concussion
*Linebacker: Ahmad Brooks–Shoulder
*Cornerback: Tarell Brown–Shoulder
*Fullback: Bruce Miller–Shoulder
*Linebacker: Aldon Smith–Shoulder
*Kicker: David Akers–Pelvis
*Guard: Alex Boone–Knee
*Running Back: Frank Gore–Wrist
*Guard: Mike Iupati–Shoulder
*Cornerback: Carlos Rogers–Knee
*Linebacker: Patrick Willis–Shoulder
*Safety: Dashon Goldson–Foot
*Defensive End: Jason Jones–Knee
*Wide Receiver: Sidney Rice–Knee
*Cornerback: Walter Thurmond–Hamstring
*Cornerback: Marcus Trufant–Hamstring
*Safety: Jeron Johnson–Groin
*Defensive Tackle: Alan Branch–Ankle
*Running Back: Leon Washington–Illness
*Running Back: Marshawn Lynch–Back
*Running Back: Robert Turbin–Illness
*Cornerback: Richard Sherman–Not injury related
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Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. His work can be found on Examiner.com.