49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

December 28, 2007
Weinke to start; Hill has fractures in lower back

Chris Weinke will be the fourth quarterback to start for the 49ers this season and Drew Olson will be his back up on Sunday. That announcement was made today in conjunction with the revelation that Shaun Hill suffered three fractures to the transverse processes, which are part of the vertebrae, in his lower back in Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay. The 49ers had kept that in jury secret because they didn’t want to make Hill a target if he was able to play Sunday against the Browns. Hill, however, has been suffering back spasms all week and has not improved much since Sunday’s game. Arnaz Battle or Michael Robinson would be the No. 3 quarterback.

Hill’s transverse processes were fractured when a Buccaneers defensive player hit him in the back on a two-yard scramble. The injury should heal on its own and Hill said he thought he’d be better in about three weeks. “The timing on this has been frustrating,” he said. “When you finally get your opportunity, you don’t want to go back to sitting out.”

Hill is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March, and he and defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga are two players the 49ers want to sign to extensions before they hit the open market. Both men said today that they wanted to return to San Francisco. “It would be nice to get it done and get it out of the way,” Hill said of a new contract. “I’d like to stay in San Francisco, that’s for dang sure.” Sopoaga, meanwhile, enjoyed his best season under the tutelage of new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. He said that he wanted to stay in California because of its proximity to Hawaii, where he went to college, and to Samoa, where he grew up.

The 49ers elevated Olson from the practice squad. To make room, they cut receiver LeRon McCoy, who has not been in uniform with the team this season. Nolan said he hoped to re-sign McCoy at a later date.

Buccaneers rookie defensive end Gaines Adams was fined $5,000 for unnecessarily striking Hill in the chest with his helmet on Sunday. Adams was flagged for roughing the passer on the play.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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