The 49ers are looking at the prospect of playing another game with backup inside linebackers Chris Borland and Michael Wilhoite after starter Patrick Willis missed Wednesday’s session with a toe injury. Willis injured the toe on Oct. 13 and practiced on a limited basis every day last week. That he didn’t practice at all Wednesday suggests he suffered a setback or at least is taking a different approach to this week’s game.
Borland started at Willis’ “Mike” linebacker spot against the Rams on Sunday. He missed an assignment that led to St. Louis’ only touchdown, but he also had 18 tackles -- a league-high this year -- in the contest. Wilhoite will play in place of NaVorro Bowman, who is still several weeks from returning to the lineup after suffering an ACL tear in January.
Meanwhile, outside linebacker Dan Skuta (ankle) did not practice. Skuta gutted out several games last season with a foot injury, and he said he thought he might play Sunday against the Saints. If not, it would leave the 49ers with three outside linebackers: Ahmad Brooks, Corey Lemonier and rookie Aaron Lynch.
Running back Frank Gore (hip) was among the 49ers who were limited. Gore was observed getting his hip examined by doctors during Sunday’s game.
Did not practice: Patrick Willis (toe), Dan Skuta (ankle), Justin Smith (not injury related)
Limited: Frank Gore (hip), Ramaine Brock (toe), Brandon Lloyd (hamstring), Ian Williams (shin)
Did not practice: RB Pierre Thomas (ribs, shoulder), RB Khiry Robinson (arm), LB David Hawthorne (hand), OT Zach Strief (chest).
Limited: C Jonathan Goodwin (knee, ankle), RB Mark Ingram (shoulder), WR Kenny Stills (thigh)
Full: TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder)
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.