Lewis won’t play; third QB won’t travel

The 49ers are packing for their trip to Houston after going through their last practice in Santa Clara.


Coach Mike Singletary met with the media, and here are the issues he addressed:


–Safety Michael Lewis will not suit up for the game. He sustained his third concussion since mid-August on Oct. 11, and the 49ers are taking a conservative approach with him. “It’s a matter of continuing to talk to the doctors and talk to the trainers and making a decision of what’s best for him,” Singletary said.


–Mark Roman, the team’s third safety, will make his first start of the season.


–Third QB Nate Davis missed his second day with an “illness” and will probably not make the trip to Houston, Singletary said. When asked if Davis has the flu, Singletary said, “It could be, but I’m not sure. I didn’t go that far. I just know it’s some kind of cold.” **(UPDATE: A 49ers spokesman said Davis does not have swine flu.)**


–Singletary was asked about the quarterback situation. “I wanted to go with the guy who gave us the best chance to win, and felt Shaun Hill was that guy,” Singletary said. “Who knows what happens in a season, but coaches and myself believe in Shaun and his ability to move the team and help us win football games.”


–How has Alex Smith looked in practice? “Alex looks fine, but you can bring guys in off the street in practice and they look fine. It’s just a matter of continuing to get better . . .  and Alex is getting better.”


–Frank Gore will start at running back after missing the past two games with a bum ankle.


–Safety Reggie Smith, who sustained a severe groin strain on Sept. 27, will miss another game. With Lewis and Smith out, rookie Curtis Taylor will be the team’s fourth third safety.


–“When you look at Isaac Bruce, Josh (Morgan) and (Michael) Crabtree, they’re all going to play about the same. It just depends on how the game goes and the flow of the game,” Singletary said.


–Singletary was asked if he’s one of the team’s best three receivers or is he getting there? “He’s getting there. Obviously, you see the talent there. He’s going to play that much faster when he gets it,” Singletary said. “He’s definitely a talented guy, and once the game starts, we’ll see how it goes.”


–“Do I expect him (Crabtree) to make plays? Absolutely. That’s why he’s playing,” Singletary said.


–Delanie Walker will retain his role as the 49ers’ primary kickoff return man, Singletary said. Arnaz Battle will handle punt-return chores.


–Defensive lineman Ray McDonald is coming along “fine.” It will be a game-time decision whether McDonald suits up, Singletary said.


–Singletary was asked if he remembers his first NFL game, and he immediately answered, “That’s a bad question.”


Why was that a bad question?


“My first (start), I played the first play of the game and called a timeout and got benched for the rest of the game, and we won the game,” Singletary said of a game in the middle of the 1981 season against San Diego. “It was the longest day of my life – long day, very embarrassing.”


He said he called a timeout because Buddy Ryan told him the night before: “Whatever I tell you to call, that’s what I want you to call. If you call anything other than what I said, we’re going to have a problem.”


Singletary said he got the call from the sideline and veteran Gary Fencik thought the call was something else. Singletary and Fencik were arguing in the huddle, and Singletary called a timeout. Ryan was not pleased.


“I got to the sideline, he (Ryan) tells me to sit down, curses me out and I didn’t get up the rest of the game,” Singletary said.


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Out: QB Nate Davis (illness), S Michael Lewis (concussion) and S Reggie Smith (groin).

Probable: RB Frank Gore (ankle, foot), CB Tarell Brown (illness), DE Ray McDonald (ankle) and CB Marcus Hudson (shoulder).



Out: S Nick Ferguson (knee).

Doubtful: LB Jamie Winborn (calf).

Questionable: LB Brian Cushing (foot), DE Mario Williams (shoulder).

Probable: K Kris Brown (right ankle), S Bernard Pollard (illness), LB DeMeco Ryans (chest).


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