SANTA CLARA -- Running back Frank Gore has cleared the league's concussion protocol and is expected to play in today's game, according to a league source. Gore suffered a concussion midway through Sunday's game in Seattle and missed the rest of the contest.
Today's game could be one of Gore's last in a 49ers uniform. The team's all-time rusher is in the final year of his contract and is expected to test his worth on the open market. The 49ers, however, could end up being his best suitor.
They began the offseason with an abundance of rushers, but lost Kendall Hunter to an ACL injury, Marcus Lattimore to retirement and released LaMichael James. Hunter signed a one-year contract extension that keeps him on the squad through the 2015 season, and he is expected to make a complete recovery and compete for a large role next season. Gore's main backup this season, rookie Carlos Hyde, won't play in today's game due to an ankle injury. The only healthy runners are Alfonso Smith and Phillip Tanner.
Gore’s 204 carries are his lowest since his injury-shortened 2010 season. He also is at risk of finishing shy of 1,000 yards for the first time since 2010, when he missed the last five games of the regular season. Gore needs 196 yards in the final two weeks to reach 1,000 yards.
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Meanwhile, the team placed Chris Borland on injured reserve with an ankle injury he suffered Sunday. Borland is the third inside linebacker – Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman are the others – to be shelved because of an injury this year. No NFL player had more tackles than Borland since he took over Willis’ starting role in Week 7, and he was named the NFC’s rookie of the month of November.
Outside linebacker Chase Thomas will take Borland's place on the active roster. Thomas plays special teams. He also could be needed as an extra rusher because Ahmad Brooks is dealing with a thumb injury.
Thomas is the eighth player the 49ers have called up from their practice squad. The team did the same with nose tackle Mike Purcell earlier this week.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.