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Jim Harbaugh talks practice, injuries, Chris Borland and more

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Friday before the team left for New Orleans. We've got a transcript.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

How'd you feel about the week of practice getting ready for the Saints?

"Good. Feel like it was a good week of practice. We're moving right, were in the right spots, good focus. Feel very good about the week."

What did you see from the defensive standpoint, how important is it against this offense in particular to be assignment sound and be in the right spots?

"Very important against any team, especially one as dynamic and good as the Saints."

Do you still do wise words after practice?

"Yes."

Could you speak to the players and maybe what their positivity and what their mindset was speaking to the rest of the guys?

"They're always outstanding. This week, no different. With the guys, what they say, what's in their heart, what they're thinking, something is always positive, always good for the team and comes from a great place. I always, personally, get something out of it. I think the rest of the guys do, too."

What has the progress been like with LB Chris Borland? It seemed like he made a really nice jump from his first start to his second start. What have you seen from him in that regard?

"Excellent. Really, it means so much to him and you see that in the way he plays, the execution, the effort, talent. Acquitted himself very nicely. Excited for him this week. He loves playing. He loves football."

Talking to him after the Broncos game, he was upset with the way he played. Did you see that? Did you see sort of an intensity in him after that game and in the lead up to the Rams game that he wanted to get better and sort of make amends for what he felt was a subpar performance in that Week 7 game?

"I see that it means a lot to him and he cares. He really wants to do well in all those things. It's just kind of a tough, strong mentality that he has and I appreciate it, respect it."

LB Patrick Willis obviously didn't practice this week. Is he on pace for a return here in the next few weeks, next couple weeks?

"Well, listed as questionable today. He's working very hard to be right."

With those kinds of injuries, how do you work hard to get it right?

"That's a good question. Treatment, orthotics and trying to make it right. There's ways."

Does playing the next two weeks on an artificial surface play a role in whether you put a guy out there or not with a toe injury?

"I don't know that. In terms of players, (I am) not in their body. I'm not qualified medically to make those decisions. But what I can report is that it means a lot to Patrick Willis and he's doing his darndest to get back out there."

With LB NaVorro Bowman, does he return next week? I think you can allow him to start practice, was it a day after Week 11? Is it possible that he could return next week or would it be the following week?

"Again, that's possible, but I would defer to the trainers and the doctors and to NaVorro."

How do you list LB Dan Skuta this week?

"I believe it's questionable. As you know, this goes back about three years ago. I think it was about three, maybe two and a half years ago, where as you recall, I took myself completely out of the listing and categorizing of what a player's status is for the week. I think you remember that."

Do you remember the incident that was the impetus toward that happening?

"I don't recall exactly, no. I just remember making that decision and it seemed like a pretty sound one. I'm not a doctor and we have qualified medical people to make those decisions. Seems right. Seems fair."

I just meant, he practiced a little bit today. Does that encourage you that he could be ready for the Saints?

"Yeah, I'm encouraged. He's been working very hard at it all week as well."

I don't think we've asked you about this, but on Sunday, there was a report that you guys came close to trading LB Ahmad Brooks and that I believe the word was you guys "bailed" at the last second on a potential trade with the Browns. Do you have any comment on that? Did that occur?

"No. No, I don't have any comment on that. As always, no comment on those things. It'd be secondhand and I don't have the specific knowledge."