Gore breaks bone in right hand, may miss preseason

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Frank Gore, the San Francisco 49ers
Pro Bowl running back, broke a bone in his right hand Monday during
the first padded practice of training camp and might not play in
the preseason.

Gore was injured during a non-contact ball-handling drill, and
coach Mike Nolan said he would not practice with the team for the
remainder of the week. Gore will be re-evaluated next Monday, and
Nolan expects him to return to practice then with a cast on his

"He'll be ready for the latter part of preseason, but his
participating in the preseason, we'll wait and see on that," Nolan

Gore set a franchise single-season record last season while
leading the NFC with 1,695 yards rushing. He was the NFC's starting
running back in the Pro Bowl after just his second NFL season.

One of the league's top young backs, Gore said he is aiming for
a 2,000-yard season this year and hopes to challenge Eric
Dickerson's NFL record of 2,105 yards that has stood for 22

Gore has a considerable history of serious injury. He tore
ligaments in each of his knees and had major surgery on both during
his college career at the University of Miami. After his first
season with the 49ers in 2005, when he became the first rookie in
15 years to lead the team in rushing, Gore had surgery to repair a
torn labrum in each of his shoulders.

That didn't prevent Gore from having a breakout season last
year, when he also recorded a franchise-record 312 carries. He also
led San Francisco last year with 61 receptions while setting a
franchise record of 2,180 yards from scrimmage.

The 49ers intend to lighten Gore's load this year, and there's a
three-way competition in training camp for backup carries behind
him between young veterans Maurice Hicks and Michael Robinson and
rookie Thomas Clayton, the team's sixth-round selection in the
April draft.

"I always like to see a silver lining in whatever happens,"
Nolan said. "This is going to give Michael Robinson, Hicks and the
rookie an opportunity to get more reps and see what they can do."

Nolan said there's a possibility the 49ers will bring in another
running back to provide depth in training camp until Gore returns.
Robinson, Hicks and Clayton are the only other running backs on the
team's summer roster.