49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is not one to give away too much information leading up to a game, but we did get one hard fact for Thursday's preseason opener against the Denver Broncos. Coach Harbaugh confirmed that linebacker Patrick Willis will not play. Willis fractured his hand last week, and is currently wearing a cast. Coach Harbaugh previously stated that Willis would be back in time for Week 1 of the regular season.
This is not exactly a shock, and I'd imagine we won't see much of Willis over the next month. He is a guy who knows his role, and knows what needs to be done, so preseason action is as much about getting rid of the rust, as it is about getting ready for the season. Of course, I imagine Willis will be looking to get in if at all possible between now and the start of the season. This is a guy who has been a full participant in the 49ers offseason program. Plenty of veterans have worked out for stretches at home, and been willing to take their time getting ready for the season, but not Willis. That's one of the many reasons he is building a Hall of Fame career.
Coach Harbaugh would not divulge any additional injury information. The players on the PUP and NFI lists will not be playing, barring any sort of immediate return. Kyle Williams, A.J. Jenkins, Ricardo Lockette and Kassim Osgood were all back at practice yesterday, and they are expected to be available on Thursday. Justin Smith has been sidelined the last two days, and Jonathan Goodwin has been sidelined for a week or so. I would be surprised if either was playing this Thursday. The upside to that is it gets the younger players more snaps.