this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; By Dennis Georgatos, MEDIANEWS STAFF Article Last Updated: 10/27/2007 SANTA CLARA — Running back Frank Gore, hampered by a sprained right ankle, practiced on a limited basis for the second day in a row Friday and the 49ers listed him ...
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Gore's hobbled but hopeful
By Dennis Georgatos, MEDIANEWS STAFF
Article Last Updated: 10/27/2007
SANTA CLARA — Running back Frank Gore, hampered by a sprained right ankle, practiced on a limited basis for the second day in a row Friday and the 49ers listed him as questionable for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints.
Gore has barely gotten any work in practice — he was held out of Wednesday's session — since suffering the injury during last Sunday's 33-15 loss to the New York Giants.
A defender rolled up on his ankle after dragging him down awkwardly at the end of a second-quarter run. The team's offensive workhorse, Gore played through the injury to finish with a season-high 88 yards rushing but was limping noticeably after the game.
Coach Mike Nolan said he's hopeful that Gore's reduced practice workload eased the pain in his ankle and heightened his chances of playing.
"We're just trying to take it easy with him by keeping it light during the week," Nolan said. "We'll see how it is on Sunday."
Gore said he believes he'll be ready to play.
"I did all right today," Gore said. "I felt good." He will test it in pregame warm-ups.
Gore has 394 yards rushing on 98 carries, a 4.0 average.
Michael Robinson and Maurice Hicks shared most of the first-team practice snaps in the absence of Gore but neither has seen much time this season. Robinson has five carries for 43 yards, Hicks five for 13 yards.
SMITH ''READY TO GO": Quarterback Alex Smith was removed from the injury report after participating fully in his third consecutive practice. He's slated to start Sunday for the first time since suffering a separated shoulder Sept. 30.
"I'm definitely healthy. I'm definitely ready to go," Smith said.
But he plans to alter his pregame routine, tossing his warm-up throws perhaps two hours before kickoff instead of three hours.
"I don't want to go out real early and then come back in before the game ... and cool down," Smith said.
REUNION TIME: Smith said he's looking forward to visiting with Saints running back Reggie Bush, who was his teammate at Helix High School in La Mesa, near San Diego.
The two went 1-2 in the NFL draft, though a year apart, with Smith going to the 49ers with the top pick in 2005 and Bush going second overall in 2006 to the Saints.
Bush took the first meeting between the two when he scored four touchdowns last December in New Orleans' 34-10 victory over the 49ers.
INJURY UPDATES: Left tackle Jonas Jennings (ankle) and wide receiver Darrell Jackson (quadriceps strain) both missed their third consecutive day of practice and were listed as doubtful. Adam Snyder was expected to start for Jennings with Kwame Harris the backup tackle on both sides of the line. Ashley Lelie was expected to start for Jackson.
With Jackson likely out, rookie wide receiver Jason Hill is expected to be active for the first time this season.
Hill's debut was set back by a strained his left hamstring during a mid-September practice.
Healthy again, Hill said he's thrilled to be playing his first game as a 49er, the team he rooted for when he was growing up in San Francisco. Hill is expected to see duty on kickoff coverage and could get a few snaps on offense.
"It would mean the world to me," Hill said. "I've dreamed of this all my life."
EXTRA POINTS: Smith, Michael L. Lewis and Patrick Willis were named team captains for Sunday's game. Willis is the first rookie selected as a team captain in Nolan's three years as coach. ... Wives of players will be at stadium entrances Sunday accepting cash donations for relief from the Southern California fires. The monies will be forwarded to the Red Cross.
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