49ers fullback Bruce Miller likely done for season
Do-everything 49ers fullback Bruce Miller is expected to miss
the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs with a left
shoulder blade injury sustained during Sunday’s win at Tampa
”It doesn’t look good. It looks like he has an injury to his
scapula,” coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday. ”He does so many things
in the protection, in the run game, receiving out of the back
field. He is a multitalented, multi-use player. Special teams
contributor on two, three phases. It’s a loss.”
While the 49ers have ”a pretty good idea” how long Miller will
need to recover, Harbaugh declined to say except for ”it’s
something he’ll heal from.”
Former Stanford fullback Owen Marecic was expected at team
headquarters to undergo a physical and conditioning test with the
intent of re-signing him to help fill the void if all goes well
during the visit. Marecic spent a stint with the team from Sept. 17
to Oct. 2.
”Owen Marecic’s hopefully en route and we’ll look at our
options,” Harbaugh said. ”The possibility of signing Owen
Marecic, Anthony Dixon (also could play fullback). Then we could
get creative with some other guys on the team.”
After Sunday’s 33-14 victory, Miller had a tough time using the
arm. He took a hard hit from Buccaneers safety Keith Tandy after a
10-yard catch midway through the fourth quarter.
Miller has been a key blocker for 1,000-yard rusher Frank Gore,
and has 25 catches for 243 yards for the 49ers (10-4), who are
riding a four-game winning streak as they prepare for next Monday
night’s game against Atlanta in a rematch of the NFC championship
game and the finale at Candlestick Park.
Third-year pro Miller’s job is among the most crucial in the
running game. Miller worked to convert from college defensive end
to NFL fullback.
Aside from the injuries and some losses Harbaugh would like
back, this is almost the script Harbaugh had in mind for the
December stretch run.
The reigning NFC champion Niners are surging with a much
healthier roster at last – despite the tough loss of Miller.
”We’re playing good ball,” Aldon Smith said. ”We just keep
Harbaugh didn’t have an update on wide receiver Michael
Crabtree’s injured left hand, which he hurt during the fourth
quarter but didn’t consider serious.
Harbaugh didn’t seem overly concerned.
”He seemed good after the ballgame and on the flight home,” he
And regarding Gore’s tender ankle, Harbaugh said he, too, was
walking well afterward when the running back came to visit with the
coach on the plane.
With kicker Phil Dawson extending his franchise-record streak of
made field goals to 24, is it time to extend his contract beyond
”Let me do that right now, `Phil, stay beyond this season,”’
Harbaugh said with a chuckle. ”I’ve been remiss in asking in
asking him to do that. Let me officially ask him to stay beyond
this season. Absolutely, I’m glad you brought it up, 24 straight
field goals. He has been a top-notch guy, too, on the team from the
day he got here. … Pay the man.”
Notes: The 49ers were thrilled to see former teammate and
practice squad S Michael Thomas intercept a fourth-down pass by Tom
Brady in the end zone with 2 seconds left Sunday to seal Miami’s
24-20 victory over the Patriots. Another one of Harbaugh’s former
Stanford players, they traded text messages afterward. ”It brought
a smile to everybody’s face as we saw that,” Harbaugh said.
”Everybody’s just happy for his success.”
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org