Casting call for Niners ILB duo

The 49ers starting inside linebackers sported similar casts — and messages — today.

Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes had casts on their right arms, but little news for reporters regarding their playing status for Thursday’s game at San Diego.

Come to think of it, the club-wearing linebackers must also share the same media consultant.

Have a listen:

Spikes:  “I don’t know man. It’s banged up pretty good.”

Willis (or was it Spikes?): “I don’t know. It got banged up pretty good.”

San Francisco’s top two tacklers both said they hurt their hands in the early
stages of Sunday’s 40-21 victory over the Seahawks. Willis said he got
hurt during the “first few plays of the game.”

They both stayed in the game and played with distinction — Spikes had a
team-high nine tackles and an interception and Willis’ seven tackles
ranked second on the team.

Asked for details on their injuries — do they have broken hands? —
both referred questions to team trainer Jeff Ferguson. Per NFL rules,
Ferguson is not required to speak with the media.

Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said the casts were “more for protection than anything else.”

Even if their hands are broken, it wouldn’t necessarily prevent them from playing against the Chargers.

On Nov. 4, 2007, Willis, then a rookie, played with a broken right hand
for most of a 20-16 loss to the Falcons. He played with a cast for the
rest of the season and averaged 14.4 tackles in the final eight games en
route to leading the NFL in tackles with 226.

Spikes said he’s consulted with his locker-room neighbor about competing with a club.

“He seemed to do pretty good with it,” Spikes said. “Actually, he did damn good with a cast on his hand.”

Willis, who also played with a broken right middle finger in college, said it’s a bit tricky tackling one-handed.

“It’s never easy if you don’t have both your hands,” he said. “That’s
something that this game is about. You’ve got to be able to use your
hands, but sometimes you got to make do with what you got.”

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