The San Francisco 49ers' defense has their work cut out for them enough as it is, with playoff position at stake and the task of containing the league's second most-powerful offense when they face the Chargers on Thursday Night Football.
The task might have just gotten way harder on them. Two of the Niners' premier defenders are suddenly wearing casts on their arms with mysterious injuries.
All fourth-dimension linebacker Patrick Willis has his arm in a cast, and so does inside linebacker Takeo Spikes, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Neither has disclosed the nature or severity of injury, and both would have to be considered questionable for the San Diego game Thursday night.
It's one of the worst weeks of the season to be short-handed -- or broken-handed -- on defense, on the road against MVP candidate Philip Rivers. "The worst week came at the wrong time," Takeo Spikes told the Chronicle. "I was looking forward to it."
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who would not be surprised to see Takeo Spikes play the game with his arm wrapped in protective chinchilla fur.