49ers Blog and Q&A

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

December 5, 2011
Harbaugh keeping Willis' MRI, prognosis under wraps

Jim Harbaugh was in mums-the-word mode today when it came to Patrick Willis and his sore right hamstring. Harbaugh said he hadn't seen the MRI image of Willis and didn't know how long Willis will be out. "It's hard to say with any injury, including a hamstring," Harbaugh said.

Willis' teammates, however, were more forthcoming. And each of them said they were relieved after learning that the injury was to Willis' hamstring and not, for example, his knee.

Frank Gore said he was "nervous, kind of scared" when he saw Willis lying on the field in the first quarter. "He's a big part of this team," Gore said. "He's our leader. I feel real good with 52 on the field. But I'm happy it was a hamstring, and he'll be fine. He'll be good. Pat - he'll be back. He'll be good."

Said NaVorro Bowman on the NFL Network when asked about Willis (courtesy of Cam Inman): "He's high in spirits. He's confident he'll be back soon."

Said Larry Grant, the linebacker who filled in for Willis Sunday: "I'm just glad it wasn't a bad (injury) to Pat. Because we need Pat back with us going into these next couple of games and into the playoffs."

Grant was the 49ers' special teams captain for the Rams game, and he ended up tied with Bowman for the team lead in tackles (six). His level of play on Sunday means the 49ers won't be rushing Willis back into the lineup prematurely.

"I was very impressed with Larry's play," Harbaugh said. "I thought he played outstanding. I mean, you could hear his play in the ball game yesterday. Big hits. I know I heard it from where I was."

-- 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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