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FRANK GORE

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Gore's Leg Injury Not Serious

 

Chrissy Mauck

 

 

After suffering a leg injury during the 49ers second to last offensive series on Sunday, the 49ers received good news on top running back Frank Gore. Team doctors and trainers reviewed x-rays on Monday and expect the NFL’s second-leading rusher to play this Sunday against the Saints.

 

"I'm sore right now, but I'll be straight," said Gore who has a bruise below his knee and one above his ankle. "I'll be good to play, and I'll be ready to practice too."

 

The question remains as to whether or not Gore will resume his role in the 49ers short yardage package.

 

After putting the ball on the ground going in for a score against St. Louis in week two, Gore struggled that next week against Philly. Set up at first and goal from the one, his first two tries went nowhere. On 3rd and goal, he put the ball on the ground which was scooped up by the Eagles and returned for a 98-yard touchdown.

 

With Gore suffering an injury on that series, Michael Robinson came in and produced a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs. and has been the featured back in most short yardage situations since.

 

“The wear and tear was taking a toll on Frank, and it was also because of the the fact that he had turned the ball over a few times in that situation,” explained Nolan.

 

Further examination however will likely take place this week after coming up short on a crucial 3rd and 1 in the final minutes of Sunday’s loss to the Rams.

 

“We’ll evaluate it especially when it was as ineffective as it was in that case,” said Nolan. "I do have a lot of confidence in Michael Robinson. I think he’s an outstanding player, an outstanding person, and he’s great for the team. I think he’ll be a 49er for a long time. I do want to say that about him, but we do want to evaluate it. He was a quarterback last year and this is his first time playing running back in the NFL. Those are critical moments in the game and we have to make the best decision.”

 

With Gore being looked over by doctors on the sidelines, Maurice Hicks popped off a nine-yard run for a first down at the 16-yardline. Hicks carried again for three yards and then Robinson found daylight for six, leading to the 3rd and 1 from the 7-yardline.

 

Jonas Jennings and Larry Allen worked their defenders out of the way to the right while guard Justin Smiley came across and pulled out in front with tight end Vernon Davis sealing out to the left side. Robinson, a converted quarterback out of Penn State, tried to hit the assigned running lane but the gap quickly closed with Rams defenders there to meet him.

 

“Vernon made his block and at the last second, the guy spun around and Michael ran into him there when he spun,” said Nolan. “Vernon was still on him and created a cavity to the left but Michael was hell bent on getting it right where he was going.”

 

From the looks of things, had Robinson bounced outside of Davis instead of going inside, he could have walked his way in for the score, and that doesn’t sit well with the rookie.

 

“I didn't run with my eyes,” said Robinson. “You have just got to get it. My job is to be the short yardage/goal line back and get it. That's all me. It was blocked perfect."

 

Whether or not Gore would have made a difference on the run isn’t the only question surrounding that pivotal play. Replays of Robinson’s carry actually looked like he had cleared the plane of the first down marker.

 

"I thought I did get it,” said Robinson. “You kind of get forward and then you look to the side and it's like 'We got it! We got it,' and the chains come out and you're like 'Huh?’ But, it happens."

 

Nolan did consider challenging the spot but felt it would be a waste.

 

“There was a lot of thought, but the officials, as they always tell you, if you challenge a spot on the interior, you are not likely to get it turned over,” said Nolan. “I’ve challenged the spot on the interior twice since I’ve been here and I’ve lost both times.”

 

Last but not least is the media and public clamor as to why the 49ers didn’t just go for it on 4th and inches.

 

“To me, it was the right choice then, and it’s the right choice now,” said Nolan. “There are certainly things in the game I would change, but that one there, I would not. We had done a very good job defensively the second half and I thought if we didn’t get it, a one point game, it was very easy to get in field goal range and their kicker had already hit from 51 yards. So to make it a four point game versus a one point game, and making them have to score a touchdown was the right choice. To me, it was a no brainer.”

 

Getting Overruled

The 49ers have had two key plays overruled the last two weeks. Against Seattle, a touchdown by Arnaz Battle was taken away with the officiating crew saying the receiver was down a few inches shy of the goal line. Then in Sunday’s game against the Rams, Walt Harris’ forced fumble and recovery that he took back 59 yards for a touchdown was overruled when officials claimed Torry Holt never had possession of the ball.

 

“The reversals have been disappointing just because a reversal is supposed to be clear cut and those were grey to me,” said Nolan. “But again, that’s my judgment versus theirs.”

 

More on the Injury Front

LB Jeff Ulbrich had surgery on his thumb Monday morning to repair a tendon. He is expected to practice on Wednesday.

 

CB Shawntae Spencer remains questionable with an ankle sprain.

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