SANTA CLARA The 49ers were short two cornerbacks and one 330-pound nose tackle in Wednesday's practice.
Isaac Sopoaga, a major cog in the 49ers' fourth-ranked run defense this season, missed practice because of what the team called an infection. A source with knowledge of the situation said Sopoaga had a staph infection. It is not known where Sopoaga contracted the infection or how much time he will miss.
If he is unable to play Sunday against the Buccaneers, third-year player Ricky Jean Francois would start in his place.
That scenario also might give two undrafted rookies, Ian Williams and Demarcus Dobbs, their first action of the season. Williams likely would back up Jean Francois at nose tackle. Dobbs is in line to take the place of Will Tukuafu, who will have surgery after injuring his wrist Sunday against the Eagles.
"Both of those guys are on notice that things are changing this week," coach Jim Harbaugh said of Dobbs and Williams. The two rookies have been inactive for the first four games.
Meanwhile, cornerback Tramaine Brock already has been ruled out of Sunday's game after breaking his left hand in Week 2. Another cornerback, Shawntae Spencer, missed Wednesday's practice with a toe injury. If neither can play, the 49ers would be down to three cornerbacks: starters Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown and third-round draft pick Chris Culliver.
Tukuafu was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, ending his season.
On his first-ever regular-season snap in Week 1, Tukuafu grabbed a ball that was jarred loose of Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson by linebacker Parys Haralson and returned it 12 yards.
Rookie safety Colin Jones was elevated from the practice squad to take Tukuafu's place on the 53-man roster. Wide receiver John Matthews, who played for Harbaugh at the University of San Diego, was signed to the practice squad.
More Gore Running back Frank Gore said his ankle felt much better than it did last Wednesday. Gore hardly practiced last week.
He participated in the early session of Wednesday's practice and was officially listed as "limited" in practice.
Safety Donte Whitner (hip) went through a full practice.
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