49ers Blog and Q&A

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

December 17, 2011
Staley: Hoping to be cleared for contact Sunday

Joe Staley said he's on course to be cleared for full contact Sunday after suffering a concussion early in last week's loss to the Cardinals. Staley is listed as questionable on the 49ers' injury report. The 49ers starting left tackle has not yet taken part in a full practice since the concussion but said he feels normal. He's been taking a series of neurological tests since the game.

"You've got to go through the steps," he said. "I've been passing all the steps, doing well. It's still in the doctor's hands. I have no real say in this. It's all protocol."

Staley was kneed in the side of the helmet on the first snap up the game and was slow to get up and get into the huddle. He remained in the game and collided with a Cardinals linebacker later in the first quarter and left the game for good. Staley said he didn't think he was concussed after the first hit. "I was just dinged up," he said. "I stayed in and I was fine."

Staley has been cleared to take part in non-contact, walk-through sessions, and he was lined up with the starting unit today. If he is cleared for contact Sunday, he will be expected to start Monday's game against the Steelers. Staley's opponent likely would be second-year outside linebacker Jason Worilds, who will fill in for suspended starter James Harrison.

"He's an up-and-coming guy," Staley said. "He's only in his second year, but he's got a lot of talent. He's kind of built in the same mold as those other two guys, (LaMarr) Woodley and Harrison. A real stocky, really, strong, athletic guy."

Like last week, starting inside linebacker Patrick Willis is listed as questionable, but like last week he is unlikely to play. Willis has not yet returned to practice while rehabilitating a right hamstring strain suffered Dec. 4. Receiver Braylon Edwards (knee) and fullback Bruce Miller (knee) also are listed as questionable but are expected to play.

Cornerback Shawntae Spencer, who has spent most of the season at the bottom of the team's depth chart, has bypassed Tramaine Brock and is now the team's No. 4 cornerback, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said.

Spencer played a handful of snaps last week when the Cardinals were in multiple-receiver formations, and he's likely to have a similar role against the Steelers. Spencer is from Pittsburgh, played at Pitt and works out in the area during the offseason with several Steelers players.

That list includes Batch, wideouts Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, and safety Ryan Mundy, who went to the same high school as Spencer. Said Spencer: "If I play, I'll be ready."

The 49ers this week sent out a press release in which they reminded fans to tone down the volume when the 49ers are on offense. Several players said they were irked during their Dec. 4 game against the Rams when fans started doing "the wave" when the 49ers had the ball.

-- 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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