The New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers released their first practice participation reports of the week and there was one notable surprise. Saints strong safety Roman Harper was a surprise scratch from practice due to an ankle injury. The injury was not noticed during the Saints wild card matchup against the Lions and is believed to be somewhat significant.
Harper has indicated he expects to play on Sunday, but an ankle injury could cause some problems if he is slowed. Harper is the Saints leading sack man and also a key part of their rush defense. The 49ers play fairly physical on offense and Harper would have to deal with Frank Gore in the running game and Vernon Davis in the passing game. Harper will likely take much of this week off from practice to get ready for Saturday.
For the 49ers, Delanie Walker sat out practice and is not expected to play on Saturday. He broke his jaw in Week 16 and has only recently been cleared for conditioning work. The team will re-assess him on Monday and if they are able to defeat the Saints, there is a chance he would be available for the NFC Championship Game against the Packers or Giants.
49ers Practice Participation Report
Did Not Participate: TE Delanie Walker (jaw)
Limited Participation: CB Chris Culliver (knee), WR Ted Ginn (ankle), DT Ray McDonald (hamstring), WR Kyle Williams (concussion)
Saints Practice Participation Report
Did Not Participate: TE John Gilmore (toe), S Roman Harper (ankle), WR Lance Moore (hamstring)
Limited Participation: LB Jonathan Casillas (knee), LB Jonathan Vilma (knee)
Full Participation: WR Robert Meachem (knee)