Willis' groin injury expected to keep him out of Rams game

Three and Out: Kaepernick couldn't make plays on his own

Willis' groin injury expected to keep him out of Rams game
September 22, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Prior to leaving the game, Patrick Willis registered six tackles and a QB hit. (AP)

SAN FRANCISCO – The 49ers are likely to be without two All-Pro defenders on Thursday night against the St. Louis Rams.

Outside linebacker Aldon Smith will take an indefinite leave of absence to undergo treatment for substance abuse, sources said. And All-Pro middle linebacker Patrick Willis is not expected to be available due to a groin injury.

Willis sustained the injury while in pursuit of Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne on a 25-yard catch-and-run late in the third quarter. Willis walked gingerly to the sideline but did not return to the game.

The 49ers surrendered 336 yards of total offense in a 27-7 loss to the Colts on Sunday at Candlestick Park.

Andrew Luck completed 18 of 27 passes for 164 yards. He also rushed for 24 yards on four attempts, as he threw and ran for more yards than 49ers dual-threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The Colts held the ball for approximately 13 more minutes than the 49ers.

“It was good to give our defense a rest,” Luck said. “They were playing so hard against a dynamic offense that I think it was helpful for us to get them to sit down and catch their breath.”

The 49ers fell below the .500 mark for the first time in Jim Harbaugh’s two-plus seasons as head coach. It was also the first time the 49ers did not rebound from a loss with a victory under Harbaugh.

And things will not get much easier on Thursday against the Rams, who defeated and tied the 49ers in two overtime games a year ago.

Rookie Corey Lemonier and veteran Dan Skuta are the backup outside linebackers who will be available to step in for Smith on Thursday. And Michael Wilhoite, who was credited with one tackle on Sunday, is likely to start in place of Patrick Willis.