49ers And Buccaneers Both Remarkably Healthy For Week 15
By Jerrell Richardson
The 49ers are a physical team, in a physical sport, yet find themselves only getting healthier as the season grows older. Their opponent, Tampa Bay, is also in good shape on the injury front, but figure to be without one key player. The rest of the players listed on both teams’ injury report are dealing with relatively minor injuries and will be on the field.
While a few players did not practice at all Wednesday, Thursday was the first time all year that every player on the 49er roster participated in some form of practice and not watching from the sideline. This is a great sign for a team that has been hampered by injuries all year and means that everyone will be available as the team faces another must-win against a worthy opponent.
There may be over a dozen San Francisco players on the report but, like Michael Crabtree, whose name popped up just this week, six are dealing with minor ankle injuries that will be fixed with a little tape.
The other good news for the 49ers is that Mike Iupati returned to practice. The starting guard was missing in action last game and while he is still a question mark this week, it appears that if needed he can play. However, the team does not need him—the running game has survived since his injury due to the steady improving play of his replacement Adam Snyder.
San Francisco faces a Tampa Bay defense that does not give up a lot of rushing yards, so whoever the team’s left guard is for this match needs to be on his game, and the best option figures to be Snyder for at least one more week.
The rest of the so called injured 49ers are familiar faces to this list, who will not only be on the field, but have played well while dealing with their respective issues. This includes Aldon Smith, Frank Gore, and Dan Skuta to name a few.
San Francisco 49ers
Limited In Practice
- Tarell Brown (Cornerback): Ribs
- Michael Crabtree (Wide Receiver): Ankle
- Craig Dahl (Safety): Ankle
- Frank Gore (Running Back): Ankle
- Mike Iupati (Guard): Knee
- Mario Manningham (Wide Receiver): Knee
- Ray McDonald (Defensive Tackle): Ankle
- Vance McDonald (Tight End): Ankle
- Dan Skuta (Linebacker): Foot
- Justin Smith (Defensive Tackle): Shoulder
Full Participation In Practice:
- Jon Baldwin (Wide Receiver): Shoulder
- Aldon Smith (Linebacker): Shoulder
- Joe Staley (Tackle): Knee
Injuries Will Slow Down Bucs Offense
While all the 49ers practiced Thursday, all but one Buccaneer did the same. Unfortunately, the one player unable to go for Tampa Bay was starting left guard Carl Nicks. The team has two replacement guards on the roster, but will miss Nicks. Their saving grace the past few weeks has been their run game, and any injuries to the line will only hurt the team’s ability to do so this week against the 49ers. Nicks has been unable to practice at all this week and does not appear likely to play. Even if on the field, his foot injury will make the left side of their line the weak link in the chain and an area that San Francisco will test.
Another piece of the Tampa Bay offense that is banged up is wide receiver Vincent Jackson. The team’s best offensive player is dealing with a hamstring injury that has not kept him out of practice, but has limited him. While he will play, and will still need eyes on him at all times; a hamstring will certainly affect his ability to get accelerate. His being slowed a step will make the job of taking him out of the game manageable, but something that is far easier said than done.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Did Not Participate In Practice:
- Carl Nicks (Guard): Foot
Limited In Practice:
- Da’Quan Bowers (Defensive End): Knee
- Vincent Jackson (Wide Receiver): Hamstring
- Jeremy Zuttah (Center): Shoulder
Full Participation In Practice:
- Lavonte David (Linebacker): Back
- William Gholston (Defensive End): Head
- Gary Gibson (Defensive Tackle): Calf
- Davin Joseph (Guard): Knee, Shoulder
- Akeem Spence (Defensive Tackle): Wrist
49ers No Worries, Bucs Not So Lucky
If the Tampa Bay offense struggles, this game could get out of hand. They will most likely rotate several players to fill in for Nicks, and will need a big game from whoever is playing. If unable to run or protect the quarterback consistently, the Bucs offense will be unable to sustain drives. Add to that a gimpy Vincent Jackson and the 49ers should be able to capitalize on their opponents injuries. While Tampa Bay will have some concerns due to injuries, the 49ers only thought heading into this matchup is to leave the game as healthy as they enter it.
For more 49ers news and updates, visit 49ers Central.
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. Jerrell is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.