San Francisco 49ers

49ers pregame: Chris Culliver out; Brock and Cox to start at cornerback

DENVER -- The 49ers will be down a starting cornerback against the Broncos today, but it's not Tramaine Brock who has missed the last five games with a toe injury. Instead, Chris Culliver will sit out the game after suffering a hamstring strain late last week.

Perrish Cox, who had been playing in place of Brock, will start for Culliver. Brock is back in the lineup and will start on the other side of Cox. Another defensive back, safety Jimmie Ward, also is out with a quadriceps injury. Culliver started the week on the injury report with a shoulder issue. The hamstring injury was added on Friday and presumably is keeping him out of today’s game.

That means that Cox, who was a fifth-round pick by the Broncos in 2010, also will play the nickel position today. In those situations, either Chris Cook or rookie Dontae Johnson will fill in at outside cornerback.

The 49ers also will take on the favored Broncos today without the man who leads their defense and without the man who leads their rushing attack.

Both linebacker Patrick Willis (toe) and guard Mike Iupati (concussion) are inactive. Willis will be replaced by rookie linebacker Chris Borland, who is making his first-ever NFL start, while Joe Looney will fill in for Iupati.

Willis, who is dealing with a strained left big toe, said he hopes to return for the 49ers' next game, against the rams on Nov. 2. Iupati has been cleared for non-contact drills after suffering a concussion Monday. He has not yet been cleared for contact work.

Meanwhile, Anthony Davis will start at right tackle for just the second time this season. He'll face the Broncos' top pass rusher, Von Miller, most of the evening.

49ers inactives

CB Chris Culliver

G Mike Iupati

LB Patrick Willis

S Jimmie Ward

C Marcus Martin

WR Quinton Patton

DE Tank Carradine

Broncos inactives

WR Cody Latimer

RB Montee Ball

CB Tony Carter

LB Shaquil Barrett

G Ben Garland

T Michael Schofield

DT Mitch Unrein

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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