Patrick Willis hurt and Sopoaga out for JETS
Well even though Willis "Participated" in practice he can't be 100%. So this has to be a break for the JETS, especially with Sopoaga out as well.
Patrick Willis, Isaac Sopoaga avoid serious injury, X-rays negative
September 26th, 2012 at 4:38 PM
By Michael Torres
The 49ers suffered a scare during their loss to the Vikings this past Sunday, as defensive starters Patrick Willis and Isaac Sopoaga had to be helped off the field in the fourth quarter with leg injuries.
San Francisco fans were able to breathe a sigh of relief, however, as x-rays came back negative for both Sopoaga and Willis. Willis had left the game with an ankle injury and Sopoaga with a knee injury.
Willis' injury was officially a mild right ankle sprain, but that did not slow him down. Willis was in full pads participating in practice on Wednesday and should be able to play this Sunday against the Jets. Sopoaga, meanwhile, suffered left knee and ankle sprains. Sopoaga's injury led to him being held out of practice. CSN Bay Area reporter Matt Maiocco tweeted Wednesday Sopoaga looked stiff while walking before practice.
Having both Willis and Sopoaga available would benefit the 49ers in New York, as the Jets like to run the football and are currently tied for sixteenth in the league in rushing. The two have seen their tackle numbers dip in the past three games due to facing pass-oriented teams in the Packers and Lions, but could be needed when running backs like Shonn Green and Bilal Powell. Willis has a combined 25 tackles on the season, while Sopoaga has five.
Should Sopoaga not be able to play in Sunday's game against the Jets, defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois could start in his place. The fourth year man out of LSU can bring familiarity and experience in Sopoaga's stead, as he has played in all 16 games for the past two seasons. Jean Francois started two games last season, against Tampa Bay and Washington.
Willis also has an able backup in middle linebacker Larry Grant. Grant started three of the final four games last season when Willis was hampered by an injury. With Willis participating in practice though, it appears as if he'll be able to play, with Grant spotting him just in case.