We'll continue to mourn the loss of Bill Walsh, but training camp is going on with plenty of important issues and I think it's appropriate to begin addressing them.
The primary issue: Frank Gore has broken his hand and will miss most, if not all of the preseason. Monday was the first day of padded-drills and I believe he broke his hand in a non-contact ball handling drill. Gore will be re-evaluated next Monday, but the general plan seems to be that he will get a cast on his hand and return to practice, just no exhibition games.
I think for the most part people are not overreacting here, which is a good thing. Obviously, all things being equal, we'd all prefer Frank Gore be healthy, get some exhibition playing time and run roughshod over the NFL. However, I think everyone here recognizes the potential benefits of Frank Gore missing preseason games.
- Not such a bad injury - The good news is that this injury really is not so bad. Had this been a knee or leg injury, or even a shoulder injury (due to previous surgeries), there would be plenty of reason to worry. However, with a broken hand, Gore does not need to worry about losing his legs due to inactivity. The team has already said that once he gets a cast he'll still participate in practice. I'd be much more worried if Gore was unable to even work out with the team.
- General wear and tear - Frank Gore is a badass. Frank Gore runs over, through and around guys for 16 weeks with no worry about the impact it has on his body. Frank Gore has also had surgery on both knees and on both shoulders. By missing four early games, that is four fewer games that could break down his body. He already puts forth so much effort in the regular season. And of course, Ladanian Tomlinson managed to not participate in the Chargers exhibition games last season and his season turned out ok as I recall.
- Chance to see backups - One of the 49ers biggest problems heading into this season was the lack of depth at running back. Maurice Hicks, Michael Robinson and Thomas Clayton is not exactly a 3-headed monster inspiring fear in opponents. Up until now, if Frank Gore were to ever miss extended time in the regular season, the team would certainly be in trouble. It's entirely conceivably a lost Gore would still screw the team. Gore's injury will open up much more playing time for the backups in exhibition games. Personally, I have a feeling that Thomas Clayton could emerge as a legit backup option along with Michael Robinson. While preseason games are normally meaningless, I'm excited to see the 3 running backs compete for the primary backup spot.