Willis suffered a slight fracture in his right hand during practice last week. According to initial reports, he was expected to play through the injury, rather than undergo surgery. Willis and the 49ers, however, instead opted for minor surgery, which shouldn't impact his status for the regular season opener against Green Bay. Willis has played through two broken hands before, but playing a full season and possibly deep into the playoffs with a cast is less than ideal. By having surgery now, Willis should be at full strength when the season starts and will only have to sacrifice the rest of training camp and the preseason.
It's possible Willis could still see some preseason action as Mike Sando of ESPN.com reported the 49ers linebacker is expected to miss a few weeks. San Francisco opens its season against the Packers on Sept. 8, giving Willis nearly five weeks to recover. If he's healthy enough by Aug. 29, Willis could see some game action in the 49ers' final preseason game against San Diego.