The two running backs the 49ers brought in this offseason to bulk up their running game were carted off the field into the Reliant Park X-ray room. But the early indication is that neither Brandon Jacobs' nor LaMichael James' injuries will end their seasons.
Jacobs suffered what appeared to be the more serious injury of the two. He left the game in the first quarter after absorbing a hit to his left knee on an eight-yard run. Jim Harbaugh said afterward that there was no damage to Jacobs' ACL or his patella tendon and that it was not a season-ending injury. He said he would miss some time, however, and a league source said Jacobs would have an MRI on Sunday to see whether Jacobs' MCL was intact.
LaMichael James, meanwhile, went down in great pain in the fourth quarter after guard Derek Hall appeared to roll up on his left ankle. James had hurt the ankle earlier in the week, a league source said. There has been no update as of yet on James' diagnosis but James was able to put some weight on his left foot as he was being taken in for X-rays.
An hour after the game, James tweeted: "I will be 100% at practice Monday In full force believe that go 9ers thanks for all the support I love you guys!"
Before the game, the 49ers' biggest problem at the position was what to do with all of the talented players at their disposal. The 49ers have six tailbacks on the roster right now, including special teams ace Rock Cartwright.
Starter Frank Gore had two carries for 12 yards against the Texans and made a quick exit. Top backup Kendall Hunter, meanwhile, had a strong night, carrying the ball six times for 46 yards. After Jacobs left the game, Anthony Dixon was given a chance to carry the ball in short-yardage situations. He converted one first down but not the other and finished the game with 12 yards on five carries.
-- Matt Barrows