Frank Gore’s season is over — and what a hit for the San Francisco offense.
The 49ers placed their star running back on season-ending injured reserve yesterday. Gore fractured his right hip during the Niners’ 27-6 win at Arizona Monday night and was scheduled to undergo further tests to determine the severity of the injury. The team made the announcement less than two hours after Mike Singletary’s weekly news conference, then released a statement from the coach.
“It is unfortunate that we had to place Frank on IR,’’ Singletary said. “He is not only a great football player, but a tremendous leader.’’
Singletary said he wasn’t sure when Gore got hurt. The two-time Pro Bowler, in his sixth NFL season, ran for 853 yards and three touchdowns this season and also caught a team-leading 46 passes for 452 yards and two TDs. Gore’s 24 100-yard rushing games are the most in 49ers history.
Losing him is a big blow for San Francisco, which at 4-7 is only a game out in the NFC West despite an 0-5 start.
The 49ers actually hid Gore’s helmet from him because he wanted to stay in the game.
San Francisco also placed wide receiver Dominique Zeigler on IR with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
For now, Brian Westbrook and Anthony Dixon will be called upon to carry a bigger load as the 49ers make a quick turnaround to play at Green Bay Sunday. Westbrook had all of 10 touches this season before carrying 23 times for 136 yards Monday.
Meltdown fallout With his quarterback’s postgame blowup broadcast repeatedly across the land and his team mired in a mess of a season, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt is trying to remain calm at the center of an increasingly ugly storm.
Whisenhunt said with the team not performing up to expectations, “you have to look at starting to make changes.’’
Derek Anderson will remain at QB partly, the coach acknowledged, because there isn’t much choice.
Whisenhunt said yesterday he wished Anderson would have handled it better when he was questioned about television shots of him and teammate Deuce Lutui grinning while the team was down by 18 points in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s 27-6 loss.
But the coach said he’s “not going to read much into a couple of seconds of what you see on video.’’
Anderson, taking exception to repeated questions about why he was laughing on the sideline late in the blowout, went on a profanity-laced tirade during a postgame news conference before abruptly walking out.
“You think I was laughing about something?’’ Anderson said, his voice getting louder with nearly every word. “I take this serious! Real serious! I put my heart and soul into this every single week!’’
Harrison has four fines this season totaling $125,000.
Harrison drew a roughing-the-passer penalty for hitting Fitzpatrick helmet-first during Pittsburgh’s 19-16 overtime victory Sunday.
“James Harrison was fined $25,000 for roughing the passer, specifically he made helmet contact to the chest of the Buffalo quarterback, who was in a defenseless position at the time the contact was made,’’ the NFL said.
Harrison previously was fined $75,000 for a helmet hit on Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, $20,000 for a helmet-to-the-back hit on Saints quarterback Drew Brees, and $5,000 for a hit on Titans quarterback Vince Young.
On Monday, the league rejected Harrison’s appeals of the $75,000 and $20,000 fines.
Brees wins SI award Brees has been honored as Sports Illustrated’s sportsman of the year for his championship on the field and his charity off it. Brees is the award’s 57th recipient. The QB led the long-suffering Saints to their first Super Bowl title in February, lifting the spirits of hurricane-battered New Orleans . . . Saints defensive end Will Smith said his weekend arrest on a domestic abuse charge was the result of “an unfortunate misunderstanding.’’ Police in New Orleans said Smith and his wife, Racquel, had gotten into an argument just after 2 a.m. Saturday while leaving a nightclub. Officers on patrol saw the argument escalate and then saw Smith grab the woman’s hair. Mouton says the woman’s injuries were minor. Smith was booked with domestic abuse and simple battery . . . Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is wearing a protective boot on his sprained right foot but is expected to play Sunday against the Ravens . . . Lions QB Shaun Hill appeared to have a splint on the index finger of his throwing hand at practice and stood off to the side while Drew Stanton took snaps with the first team . . . Defensive end Phillip Merling was activated by the Dolphins less than four months after an Achilles’ tendon injury that was feared to be season-ending. The club waived QB Patrick Ramsey . . . Authorities in Nashville said there is not enough evidence to charge Titans receiver Kenny Britt in a bar fight. A customer at the bar told investigators Britt was among those who assaulted him Oct 22. Britt denied hitting anyone, though coach Jeff Fisher benched the receiver for a quarter because of the reports . . . The Packers have agreed to a contract extension with cornerback Tramon Williams. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the deal was worth $33.074 million and runs through 2014 . . . The Seahawks signed linebacker David Hawthorne to a one-year, $900,000 extension through 2011 . . . The Buccaneers released safety Sabby Piscitelli and placed safety Cody Grimm (broken left leg) and left guard Davin Joseph (broken left foot) on injured reserve.