The San Francisco 49ers may have caught somewhat of a break, as the New Orleans Saints took to the practice field on Wednesday without one of the better players on defense. According to Jeff Duncan on Twiter, safety Roman Harper was not at practice on Wednesday with an ankle injury. Harper injured his ankle against the Saints' dominating win over the Detroit Lions.
Him missing practice is significant, as Duncan notes. Harper is one of the key players to New Orleans' run defense, a unit that will need to step up against the rushing attack of San Francisco's Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. New Orleans has had plenty of defensive struggles this season, and if Harper can't go or is limited, Gore is exactly the kind of back that can find that weakness and exploit it.
However, it doesn't necessarily mean Harper will miss the game, as noted below:
Harper is a tough hombre. I'll be surprised if he doesn't play thru the injury. But it could undoubtedly affect him on the field.
Gore is the kind of player who has always been able to find a weakness and exploit it. He manages to break through the smallest of holes, and if Harper isn't on top of his game, Gore could break one of the huge runs he's known for.