The competition at left tackle between Mario Henderson and Khalif Barnes is over, what with Barnes telling reporters after Wednesday's lone afternoon practice in Napa that he is out for up to two months with a broken left ankle.
Ironically, the play on which Barnes, who has played on nothing but the left side in his NFL career, was injured came with him working at right tackle. The pile rolled up on his leg as he also suffered a bruised knee in the Tuesday morning practice.
"It (stinks) but it's the nature of our game," Barnes said. "They say 6 to 8 weeks or something like that, so something positive I can take out of this is (to) get into the (play)book and keep the mental aspect of it. I can be a better player mentally so when I do come back just work on the physical stuff and I think that can come easy. The biggest thing about it is staying mental and staying positive."
So with Barnes out, here's the latest projection at the opening night starting O-line - LT Henderson, LG Robert Gallery, who is still recuperating from a recent appendectomy, C Samson Satele, RG Cooper Carlisle, RT Cornell Green.
"I think Mario's a good player," Barnes said of Henderson. "We have good players who are competing for positions and jobs. When you have a strong line and everyone's strong and coaches have a decision who...to play, that means you have a good O-line. I love the competition and everybody was doing well and we had a good thing going on, but this break happened and I'll bounce back from it."
Said coach Tom Cable: "It sets us back a little bit. You just move forward in this business. He should be back rather early (so) we are fortunate that way. He should be back rather early in terms of the regular season so we will at least (have the) depth we were counting on there in the first place."