San Francisco 49er fans received encouraging news on Wednesday regarding Patrick Willis’ availability for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. Both Willis and head coach Jim Harbaugh said they don’t expect his fractured right hand to keep him out of the lineup on Sunday.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Willis said although he is not 100%, he will start in Week 1:
Honestly, I really feel like if I going to be out there on the field, I can’t let it affect my play. I don’t want to cheat my teammates of anything but give everything I have. And no excuses. If I got to make a tackle, I’ll make a tackle. If I got to cover, I’ll cover.
Willis fractured his right hand at practice on July 31. He had minor surgery on August 2 to repair the right hand and it was expected to take eight weeks for the bone to fully heal. This weekend will mark only his fifth week of recovery from the surgery, but he is ready to go. While he is no longer wearing a cast at practice, Harbaugh said he might wear one in the game to protect it from further damage.
If Willis does wear a cast on his right hand it would not be the first time he has done so in a game. He has injured bones in the same hand three times in his career and he successfully played in games with no problems. So don’t expect Willis to have any issues on the field like trying to make a tackle.
Having Willis on the field against the Packers will be a big boost for the defense. He is the leader for the unit who calls out defensive plays and just his presence on the field, 100% or not, makes opposing offenses shiver in their cleats.