San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore suffered bruised ribs in last Thursday nights game against the Seattle Seahawks. Gore is having a terrific year in the top five in both rushing yards and yards per carry. He has been great in both grinding out tough yards and breaking off big runs this season, quieting critics who said he was nearing the end of his career at age 29.
Gore has since returned to practice and should be ready to play Monday Night against the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers got lucky with the extended break from Thursday to Monday, allowing Gore extra time to rest those sore ribs. They would also be wise to lessen his load against Arizona and in the next couple weeks to ensure he doesn’t break down as the season goes on.
Kendall Hunter has proved to be more than ready to take over if he’s needed and should be given a large portion of the teams carries this week. Brandon Jacobs finally dressed against Seattle but did not play and he should be used as the short yardage back. I’m not saying that Gore should be held out of the contest, but his workload should be limited.
Every game in an NFL season is important, especially one against a division rival for sole possession of first place. At the same time, the season is a grind, especially for 29 year old RBs with injury history. It’s important that Gore is healthy every game and he is absolutely the best player on this offense still. But it’s far more important that Gore is at his best later in the season and in the playoffs than it is now.