Willis: It's a wait-and-see game

Willis on playing Sunday: 'It's still uncertain right now'

Willis: It's a wait-and-see game
October 3, 2013, 6:15 am
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The 49ers will likely hold off on any decision until 90 minutes prior to kickoff whether to play Patrick Willis against the Texans in Week 5. (AP)

Justin Smith: "Yeah, he’s (Willis) playing . . . definitely.” (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Programming note: Watch Thursday's 49ers press conference with Vic Fangio, Greg Roman and Frank Gore streaming LIVE at 12 p.m. right here  

SANTA CLARA – Dr. Justin Smith has cleared All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis to return to action Sunday night against the Houston Texans.

Willis, however, is not so sure.

Willis sat out last Thursday’s game against the St. Louis Rams due to a groin strain that kept him out of the fourth quarter of the Sept. 22 game against the Indianapolis Colts. He returned to limited practice on Wednesday. How he progresses during the course of the week will determined his availability for Sunday’s game.

[RELATED: 49ers first quarter of season defensive rundown] 

“Nothing is for sure right now,” Willis said. “My mindset is if I’m out there, I want to make sure I can help my teammates and help us win. Right now, it’s taking it day by day.”

Smith, the 49ers’ Pro Bowl defensive lineman, fully expects Willis to be back in the lineup. When asked Wednesday about Willis, Smith answered, “Yeah, he’s playing . . . definitely.”

Willis, who typically does not talk to the media when he’s not playing, spoke at his locker Wednesday for several minutes. He intimated that he was initially concerned the injury would keep him out for a longer period of time.

“This is the first time I’ve dealt with a groin,” Willis said. “I’ve endured a lot of pain from all the years I played football from when I was a kid to now. Some things my body is able to absorb. This was a little different. It was something new. Thank God the MRI showed it wasn’t something that would keep me out for the rest of the season.”

In all likelihood, Willis will be listed as questionable for Sunday's game, and the 49ers will hold off on any decision until 90 minutes prior to kickoff when they must submit their list of seven inactive players. Michael Wilhoite would start his second consecutive NFL game if Willis is unavailable. Wilhoite had five tackles, as the 49ers held the St. Louis Rams to 18 yards on 19 carries in a 35-11 victory.

49ers Practice Report
Out (definitely will not play)
WR Quinton Patton (foot)
Did Not Participate In Practice
T Anthony Davis (shoulder)
Limited Participation in Practice
CB Nnamdi Asomugha (knee), TE Vernon Davis (hamstring), DT Ray McDonald (ankle, ankle), RB Bruce Miller (quadricep), CB Carlos Rogers (knee), DT Justin Smith (shoulder), LB Patrick Willis (groin)
Full Participation in Practice
TE Demarcus Dobbs (calf), G Mike Iupati (shoulder), T Joe Staley (hamstring, ankle), WR Kyle Williams (knee)

Texans Practice Report
Did Not Participate In Practice
G Brandon Brooks (toe), LB Brian Cushing (concussion), TE Owen Daniels (not injury related), LB Tim Dobbins (hamstring), WR Andre Johnson (not injury related), RB Greg Jones (foot, groin), CB Johnathan Joseph (not injury related), LB Darryl Sharpton (foot, hip), G Wade Smith (knee), DE J.J. Watt (groin, nose)
Limited Participation in Practice
LB Bryan Braman (hamstring, shoulder), T Duane Brown (toe), C Chris Myers (biceps), S Ed Reed (hip, abdomen)
Full Participation in Practice
RB Arian Foster (thumb, back), TE Garrett Graham (hip, groin), CB Brice McCain (knee), T Derek Newton (knee), S Eddie Pleasant (hamstring), WR DeVier Posey (achilles), RB Ben Tate (shoulder)

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