Patrick Willis will play for 49ers despite hand injury


San Francisco 49ers fans can breathe a sigh of relief.

After losing Michael Crabtree during the offseason, the 49ers encountered another scare Wednesday after Patrick Willis left practice with a hand injury.

However, Willis' injury -- feared to be a slight break in his right hand -- shouldn't be an issue for the six-time All-Pro, a source who spoke with the linebacker told's Ian Rapoport on Thursday. RapSheet was told that Willis is set to have his hand examined by a doctor later in the day.

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Willis spent the final two hours of Wednesday's practice watching from afar with his hand wrapped in ice, according to Matt Maiocco of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Willis has been here before. The 28-year-old defender has suffered breaks to his right hand both in 2007 and 2010. He played through each setback.

A rock-solid mainstay in the middle of the 49ers' defense, Willis has racked up 100-plus tackles in five of his six NFL seasons. The six-time Pro Bowl player has paired with NaVorro Bowman to form the league's top linebacker duo. Together, they can do it all against the run and the pass.

Losing Willis for any amount of time would serve as a crushing blow. The 49ers have dodged a bullet.

UPDATE: Coach Jim Harbaugh wouldn't confirm if Willis suffered a broken hand, saying Willis is "working through something," per The Associated Press. Harbaugh did say, however, that Willis will be back before the Niners' Week 1 contest versus the Green Bay Packers.

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