What would happen if both of the 49ers' Pro-Bowl inside linebackers went out with injuries? The team got a glimpse of that scenario during Wednesday's practice after Patrick Willis hurt his right hand, apparently during a pass-blocking drill, and NaVorro Bowman didn't finish the practice with an apparent groin injury. Bowman had missed Tuesday's session.
Backups Michael Wilhoite and Nate Stupar filled in, and Stupar turned in one of several interceptions on the afternoon when he jumped a pass from Colin Kaepernick to Vernon Davis in the red zone. Kaepernick and the offense had been winning the daily battles against the defense, but that was not the case today.
The 49ers' defense is special, of course, because it has two top-caliber inside linebackers that stay on the field for all three downs. Neither injury, however, appears that serious. If Willis suffered a fracture, he'll know what to expect. He's played with broken bones in his hand three times since his junior year in college, including during his rookie season in 2007 and again in 2010.
With Willis and Bowman out, rookie Nick Moody also saw extra action as did newly signed Travis Johnson. The San Jose State product played defensive end in college but is being used at inside linebacker by the 49ers
The Kaepernick-to-Davis and Kaepernick-to-Anquan Boldin connections had been hot this spring and summer but cooled off today. Boldin caught just two of the six passes that went his way in 11-on-11 and team drills while Davis caught three of eight passes.