While Jim Harbaugh press conferences haven't been a reliable source of good news this season, there was one small encouraging piece of news from his Thursday appearance - 49ers RB Frank Gore, who suffered a concussion in last week's loss to the Seattle Seahawks, is likely to play Saturday against San Diego.
Gore has successfully passed the necessary phases of the NFL's concussion protocol, and while he wasn't cleared for contact drills in Thursday's practice, he should be good to go for contact - and live action - by Friday, based on his performance Thursday.
Gore's usual backup, Carlos Hyde, is expected to miss Saturday's game with a back injury. In his place, expect to see Afonso Smith take over backup duties while new special teams contributor Phillip Tanner could fill in in a pinch.
Smith spent 2010-2013 with the Arizona Cardinals, seeing action primarily on special teams. The 49ers are Tanner's fourth team of the 2014 season - he started the year with the Colts, then moved to the Cowboys, then was signed by the Bills in October after an injury to C.J. Spiller. After being released the next month, Tanner was out of work until the 49ers came calling on Wednesday.
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