The 49ers came out of Cincinnati with a 13-8 victory today and thankfully managed to avoid too many injuries. The two players on the injury report following the game were running back Frank Gore and strong safety Donte Whitner.
Gore suffered a right ankle injury that bothered him for much of the second half. It wasn't a pretty half of play for Gore and he ended up giving way to rookie Kendall Hunter for much of the fourth quarter. After Gore handled most of the carries through three quarters, Hunter split carries with him on the touchdown drive that began at 9:04 in the fourth. After that drive, Hunter handled all the carries for the final two drives of the game. There is plenty to discuss about that whole situation. Possibly Tre9er vs. smileyman, part two? We'll see.
Whitner suffered a hip injury in the first quarter breaking up a play in the end zone and did not return to the game. He said the injury wasn't serious, but we'll see this week if he is limited in practice. In his absence, Madieu Williams was technically the starting strong safety, but the 49ers went with more of a committee approach to the position. Williams played on most first and second downs, while Reggie Smith came in on every single third down. Additionally, Smith came in on some first and second downs depending on the situation and handled all downs for the final two series of the game.
Aside from the Bengals first and last drives of the game, the secondary had a solid day both at the corner and safety position. If all are healthy I'd imagine we'll see Dashon Goldson at free safety and Donte Whitner at strong safety next week against the Eagles. Otherwise, Williams and Smith are there to provide some depth options at strong safety.