49ers Blog and Q&A

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

January 1, 2012
Willis returns but 49ers have only three healthy WRs

The Rams will have to face Patrick Willis after all. Willis, injured in the first quarter of a Week 13 game against St. Louis, is active and will start today's game. The team's five-time pro bowl linebacker had missed the three previous games with the injury.

The news is not nearly as good for the 49ers at receiver. Ted Ginn (ankle) and Kyle Williams (concussion) both are inactive. That means that Brett Swain will make his second NFL start, his first for the 49ers. It also means that newcomer Joe Hastings, promoted from the practice squad Saturday, promises to see a lot of action as well. In an emergency, the 49ers also could turn to rookie safety Colin Jones, who went through a handful of training camp practices as a wide receiver.

Without Ginn and Williams, the 49ers' return men likely will be safety Reggie Smith on punt returns and running back Kendall Hunter or cornerback Chris Culliver on kickoffs.

Meanwhile, both Bruce Miller and Moran Norris are active for today's game. Having two fullbacks active likely is in response to Delanie Walker's jaw injury. Look for an extra fullback to enter the game on plays that previously called for a third tight end.

49ers inactives:
TE Delanie Walker
WR Kyle Williams
WR Ted Ginn
CB Shawntae Spencer
QB Scott Tolzien
T Mike Person
DT Ian Williams

For the Rams, quarterback Sam Bradford, as expected, is inactive and Kellen Clemens will start. A.J. Feeley, the quarterback the 49ers faced on Dec. 4, also is inactive. Tom Brandstater is the backup quarterback.

Rams inactives:
QB Sam Bradford
QB A.J. Feeley
TE Ben Guidugli,
TE Mike McNeill
OL Kevin Hughes
CB Justin King
CB Nate Ness

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW 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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