Walker's playoff availability biggest 49ers concern

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Walker's playoff availability biggest 49ers concern

SEATTLE -- Tight end Delanie Walker sustained a jaw injury in the first quarter Saturday that places into question his availability for the 49ers' upcoming appearance in the NFC playoffs.Walker sustained the injury when Seattle Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill inadvertently kicked him while Walker was on the ground after a cut block on a run play.Walker's helmet flew off and he remained on the ground for several minutes after the 49ers' medical staff and coach Jim Harbaugh rushed to his assistance. Walker held a towel over the left side of his jaw. He was carted off the field, presumably for X-rays.The 49ers immediately announced that Walker would not be available to return to the game.Walker has not caught a pass in the past six games for the 49ers, but he's been a major contributor to the offense as a blocker.
It was not a good first half for the 49ers, who trail the Seahawks 10-3 while trying to hold onto the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs ahead of the New Orleans Saints.Defensive starters Justin Smith (left leg) and Ahmad Brooks (right elbow) left the game due to injuries in the first quarter. Both returned to action in the second quarter. And the 49ers offense has sputtered, with tight end Vernon Davis dropping a couple of passes.Also, Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch is threatening to end the 49ers' streak of 36 games without allowing a 100-yard rusher. Lynch has 83 yards rushing on 14 carries.

Seahawks lose All-Pro S Earl Thomas for season

Seahawks lose All-Pro S Earl Thomas for season

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks will be without safety Earl Thomas for the rest of the season due to his broken lower left leg, no matter how far the team advances in the playoffs.

Coach Pete Carroll said Monday that further examination determined Thomas' fractured left tibia will require a recovery time that does not allow for the possibility of a return during the 2016 season. Carroll said after Sunday's 40-7 win over Carolina that Thomas' injury usually takes a minimum of six weeks of recovery time.

It's the first major injury of Thomas' career. He played 106 straight games before missing Seattle's loss at Tampa Bay last week with a hamstring injury. He quickly recovered to play against the Panthers, but was hurt in a second-quarter collision with teammate Kam Chancellor going for an interception.

Former 49ers coach Mike Nolan supports Trent Baalke over Chip Kelly

Former 49ers coach Mike Nolan supports Trent Baalke over Chip Kelly

Mike Nolan coached the 49ers for three full seasons before he was fired after Week 7 in his fourth year at the helm.

On Monday morning, he was asked about the situation in Santa Clara and if he would make a change at head coach or general manager.

"It's sad that it's gone to where it is," Nolan said on 95.7 The Game. "They're beginning to look much like when I took the job over in 2005 ... and there really was not a lot of good personnel on the team.

"The difference though that is better and will continue to be better, they will be (in) a much better cap situation going forward than we ever were back then ... but the losing I should say is really killing them.

"The personnel is not as bad as they're playing and that's the thing that really gets under your skin as a coach because you're frustrated by what's going on ... the thing that I have thought most of the season when people were talking about changes as the losses started to mount up, was not to change it. Because I know Trent (Baalke) personally, and Trent does a good job with personnel and that's his primary job.

"But for a lot of strange reasons -- guys retiring, guys quitting a couple years ago, just a lot of weird things that occurred -- their roster has kind of fallen off a little bit, but it is still a much better roster than some of these other teams that are not winning."

After winning their Week 1 game against the Rams, the 49ers have lost a franchise-record 11 straight games.

Chip Kelly is under contract through 2019 and the team owes Jim Tomsula $7 million over the next two years combined.

Baalke's contract runs through 2018.

"It's about players first and I think they have the right guy in place to pick the players but unfortunately for Trent, I think the choice of Tomsula hurt him and currently right now with Chip Kelly it's not helping him either," Nolan added. "They do not have a bad roster.

"Obviously they need a quarterback. They could be a .500 team in my opinion if they get a quarterback as near as next year even ... they got a tough decision to make at the end."