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Wednesday, December 7, 2011
NFC West injury situations that matter

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Arizona: Kevin Kolb is spending his time on the practice field, not on the injury report. That suggests Kolb's injured toe and foot held up well during his victorious return against Dallas. Kolb overcame a slow start to finish strong. He showed good mobility in scrambling for 17 yards to the 5-yard line. He'll need that mobility against the 49ers' pressure Sunday. Running back Beanie Wells missed practice Wednesday to rest various ailments. He expects to start. Tight end Todd Heap rested his troublesome hamstring last week in an attempt to return more successfully this time. He was limited in practice. On defense, the team welcomed back safety Kerry Rhodes to practice. He suffered a broken foot against Minnesota two months ago. He could need time to ease back into playing.

St. Louis: The Rams are shuffling at quarterback and along the offensive line heading into their game against Seattle on Monday night. Rookie Tom Brandstater took the first-team QB reps while Sam Bradford (ankle) and A.J. Feeley (thumb) rested injuries. The Rams have some leeway given that they do not play until Monday, but this is a dire situation. Feeley said he does not anticipate being ready, according to the team. Bradford's status remains in question. The Rams are also without left guard Jacob Bell, who could miss multiple games after suffering a knee injury at San Francisco. The team is already without both starting tackles. One backup tackle, Mark LeVoir, is back at practice this week. Safety Darian Stewart is also back after missing one game with a concussion. Chris Long continues to miss practice, same as last week, but his two-sack performance against the 49ers indicates he'll be ready to play.

San Francisco: Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis isn't practicing. All signs point to Willis missing the Arizona game. Backup Larry Grant played well in relief against the Rams last week. The 49ers will presumably handle Willis' hamstring with care. Receiver Braylon Edwards also could return after missing the St. Louis game to rest knee and shoulder injuries. Receivers Michael Crabtree and Kyle Williams played well enough for the 49ers to feel good about the position whether or not Edwards is available. The 49ers are relatively healthy. Reports from 49ers practice suggest cornerback Carlos Rogers could be among those appearing on the injury report this week. The 49ers will make their report available following practice later Wednesday.

Seattle: Tarvaris Jackson's apparent recovery from a pectoral injury has allowed him to practice fully the last couple weeks. That's significant for an offense adjusting to frequently changing parts on the offensive line, and at receiver. Paul McQuistan goes from replacing the injured John Moffitt at right guard to replacing the injured Russell Okung at left tackle, a scenario the Seahawks never could have envisioned. Lemuel Jeanpierre steps in at right guard. All signs point to Seattle continuing its emphasis on the running game. On defense, David Hawthorne has been playing through knee problems. He was the NFC's defensive player of the week after returning an interception 77 yards for a touchdown against Philadelphia. The injury prevented him from opening up and running full speed, however. K.J. Wright took practice reps at middle linebacker while Hawthorne rested. Rookie Mike Morgan stepped into lineup at Wright's old spot. With no game til Monday, Hawthorne presumable has a good shot at playing.