Frank Gore carries a heavy load every week for the 49ers and it will be more of the same when San Francisco hosts the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
”Frank is one of the best, if not the best, back in the league,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Friday. ”So, he’s going to run and he’s feeling good. He had a good week at practice.”
Gore, who gained 58 yards on 23 carries last Sunday against the Rams, and cornerback Tarell Brown took a little time off to heal nagging injuries this week – but both insisted they will be ready for the Dolphins.
”I could play right now,” Gore said. ”I feel all right.”
Gore is nursing a wrist problem, while Brown’s hamstring has been problematic.
”I’ll be fine, I just have to listen to the trainers,” Brown said. ”I just needed a day to let it rest.”
San Francisco will be trying to rebound from a 16-13 overtime loss to St. Louis.
”We’ve responded well,” Brown said. ”You never want to lose, but at the same time it’s part of the game. You just have to stay focused.”
Harbaugh said there were two ways to respond after a loss.
”You’re ticked off, and when you’re ticked off you’re going to do one of two things: You’re going to come back and do something about it, or you go cower in the corner and shrivel up in the fetal position,” he said. ”I haven’t seen any of the latter around here. You come back, chest somebody up and let’s do something about it.”
Wide receiver Mario Manningham remains doubtful with a shoulder injury, and several other players are listed as probable.
Manningham’s absence could clear the way for rookie A.J. Jenkins to make an impact.
”Yes, I’ve seen progress from A.J.,” Harbaugh said. ”He’s been on his assignments. He’s executed well when he’s been out there. He’s given great effort and football rewards that effort.”
Gore, who went to the University of Miami, needs 28 yards rushing against the Dolphins to reach 1,000 for the sixth time. Only the Rams’ Steven Jackson has more 1,000-yard seasons (seven) among active players.
Gore also needs one touchdown to match Roger Craig and Joe Perry (50) for most in franchise history.
”Whatever it takes,” Gore said. ”If there’s a successful play and we win, and I’m part of it, I’m good.”
Harbaugh did say the coaching staff has been talking about ways to share the load at running back.
”It’s part of the game plan,” he said. ”We have some other backs that we feel confident with.”
The 49ers have won nine consecutive home games in December, second only to the New England Patriots (19). The Dolphins have won the past two meetings between the teams, the last on Dec. 14, 2008, in Miami. The Dolphins also won in San Francisco in 2004.
The 49ers last beat Miami at home in 2001.
Notes: Dolphins OT Jonathan Martin played for Harbaugh at Stanford. … The 49ers’ defense has allowed 23 opposing drives to reach the red zone, the fewest in the NFL.