But guess what?
The ferocious 49ers inside linebacker practiced fully Wednesday after missing the entire preseason with a broken right hand. Barring a major, unexpected setback, Willis will be on the field Sunday.
After missing the preseason, you can tell Willis is getting jumpy. He seemed ready to play Wednesday when he met the media and during the brief window when practice was open to reporters. Willis spoke passionately of missing everything that goes into playing with a team. He said he missed hitting, laughing and hurting with teammates. Sunday, when the lights come on for real on the start of his seventh NFL season, Willis will be there. With no excuses.
He said he expects to make every tackle and have at his disposal every move that has made him a superstar. If not, he will not blame the hand injury.
Willis said he is not sure if he will wear a protective “club” on his hand Sunday. I’d be surprised if he didn’t. Friday marks five weeks since his surgery. Willis said it could take up to eight weeks to recover fully. Such protection is standard.
It gives Willis some confidence that this is the fourth time he will be playing through a broken bone in his hand. He knows it can be done. And from watching his actions Wednesday, he’ll have no reservations.