SANTA CLARA -- Running back Frank Gore said earlier in the day that he felt fine.
And the 49ers' practice participation report on Thursday supported his claim. On the 49ers' first day of practice to prepare for their game Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Gore went through the entire practice, the club reported.
Last week, the 49ers did not list Gore with any injuries, either. But Sunday, he played just 39 of the team's 63 offensive plays. At times when he came off the field, he looked to be ailing. But when he had the football in his hands, he looked as good as ever.
Gore had just 10 rushes for 72 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown on the 49ers' first play of the second half. He carried just two more times in the 49ers' 21-19 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. A day later, coach Jim Harbaugh said Gore was "not 100 percent."Gore has experienced sprains to both ankles and a knee bruise this season. So, perhaps, the 49ers were trying to conserve Gore during the game against the Cardinals. However, the team's pass-heavy game plan backfired.Quarterback Alex Smith completed 18 of 37 passes for 175 yards against the Cardinals on Sunday. He was also sacked five times. Smith attempted a season-high 38 passes Nov. 20 against the Cardinals, but the 49ers also ran a season-high 87 offensive plays in that game.
So there appears to be no question that Gore will be healthy for the Monday night game against the Steelers. However, there are questions about linebacker Patrick Willis and left tackle Joe Staley.Willis has not started running at full speed after sustaining a right hamstring strain Dec. 4 against St. Louis. Staley has yet to be cleared for full participation after sustaining a concussion Sunday.Also, receiver Braylon Edwards (knee) and fullback Bruce Miller (knee) took part in limited practice Thursday.Meanwhile, the Steelers had four notable players sit out of practice Thursday due to injuries, including receiver quarterback Ben Roethlisbeerger (ankle) and safety Troy Polamalu (hamstring).49ERS PRACTICE REPORT
Did not participate: T Joe Staley (concussion), LB Patrick Willis (hamstring)
Limited participation: WR Braylon Edwards (knee), RB Bruce Miller (knee)STEELERS PRACTICE REPORT
Did not participate: LB Chris Carter (hamstring), T Marcus Gilbert (illness), S Troy Polamalu (hamstring), C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle), QB Ben Roethlisberger (ankle), WR Emmanuel Sanders (foot)
Limited participation: WR Arnaz Battle (hamstring), CB Curtis Brown (knee)