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Isaac Sopoaga Injury And The 49ers Defensive Line

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Yesterday afternoon, nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga made an unexpected appearance in the 49ers injury report with an unnamed infection. Matt Barrows did some digging and learned from "a source with knowledge of the situation" that Sopoaga has a staph infection. Sopoaga did not practice on Wednesday and is looking questionable for Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It is my understanding that staph infections can vary in severity, which makes it hard to know how much time Sopoaga will miss. Wide receiver Josh Morgan suffered a staph infection during the preseason of his rookie year and missed two preseason games and the regular season opener. Bucs tight end Kellen Winslow suffered a staph infection in 2008 (during a rash of Browns staph infections) and missed one game (with a bye before that game).

If Sopoaga sits out Sunday we'll likely see Ian Williams active along with Demarcus Dobbs. DE Will Tukuafu was placed on injured reserve earlier this week, which meant either Williams or Dobbs was going to be active this Sunday. If Sopoaga is also inactive, that would seem to just about guarantee both are active.

It remains to be seen how much time they would see on defense, but I'd imagine they would get a decent amount of time on special teams. Ricky Jean Francois would get the start at nose tackle. He's gotten a lot of time there in preseason action the last two years. Sopoaga missed a lot of time this past preseason with an injury while Aubrayo Franklin was waiting to sign his franchise tender in 2010.

RJF has gotten work in at nose tackle, so if needed hopefully he can rise to the challenge. Sopoaga quietly was handling his business in the role, so we'll see if there is any kind of bumpy transition this week (assuming Ice does in fact sit out).