Vet Wilhelm ready if Spikes is unable to play

Linebacker Takeo Spikes was the only 49ers player who did not practice today due to health concerns. He sustained a hamstring strain last week against the Bears and looks questionable for Sunday’s game.


Rookie Scott McKillop immediately entered the game to replace Spikes late in the first half. But veteran Matt Wilhelm took his place at the start of the second half. Wilhelm signed with the 49ers on Oct. 19 when the club placed veteran Jeff Ulbrich on injured reserve.


“That’s the reason I’m here,” Wilhelm said. “I know the defense. Some of the angles are a little different, but it’s very similar to what I’ve had in the past. As a backup, you know if your opportunity arises, you have to be ready.”


Wilhelm is scheduled to start against the Packers if Spikes is unable to play. Wilhelm recorded six tackles, including one for a loss in the 49ers win over the Bears.


Here’s defensive coordinator Greg Manusky on Wilhelm, whom he coached while an assistant with the Chargers:


“If TK [Spikes] can’t go then Matt will be the starter. He is a pro. He has been in some big games himself and he will do well. If TK can get ready to go, I know he is studying film and doing the most he can to get ready for the game and we’re expecting him to be ready.”


Why did Wilhelm play in the second half instead of McKillop?


“Matt has been in a lot of situations in San Diego and has played a lot of games and was a starter. We just felt comfortable with Matt being in there at the time. That’s why we made the transition. Nothing against Scott, it is just that right now we felt Matt had a better feel for the game and we were confident in his ability to play.”


How did Wilhelm play?


“He played pretty well, which we expected. That’s what backup players are in this league, and you are looking at one. When you get your opportunity, you have to go in there and make the most of it. That’s what we expected him to do and he did it so it was great.”


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OUT: CB Nate Clements (shoulder), LT Joe Staley (knee).

Did not practice: LB Takeo Spikes (hamstring), NT Aubrayo Franklin (not injury related; given a day off for rest).

Limited practice: DL Justin Smith (back). 

Full practice: WR Isaac Bruce (ankle, elbow), RB Glen Coffee (concussion), WR Michael Crabtree (knee), DL Demetric Evans (shoulder), S Michael Lewis (quadriceps), RB Michael Robinson (shoulder), S Mark Roman (knee), T Adam Snyder (shoulder).



Did not practice: LB Desmond Bishop (ankle), DE Cullen Jenkins (ankle), LB Brady Poppinga (quadriceps).

Limited practice: CB Charles Woodson (hip), LB Clay Matthews (jaw), LB Brad Jones (concussion).

Full practice: LB Brandon Chillar (hand), TE Jermichael Finley (knee), LB Aaron Kampman (concussion), RB John Kuhn (hand), T Mark Tauscher (knee).


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