The 49ers might be without the services of Mike Iupati this week.
San Francisco's fourth-year left guard and 2012 Pro Bowl selection, injured his knee at the end of last week's 23-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The 49ers were not required to release an injury report on Wednesday because they play on "Monday Night Football" in Washington D.C.
The severity of Iupati's injury is not known, but reports indicate the mauling lineman could miss time, snapping a streak of 29 consecutive games with the 49ers playing with the same starting five offensive linemen. Iupati has started 58 consecutive games.
Frank Gore, the franchise's all-time leading rusher, sounded like Iupati would be out of action against Washington. Even so, Gore, the ninth-year veteran, spoke highly of the likely replacement, Adam Snyder, a fellow member of San Francisco's 2005 draft class.
"We will miss Mike," Gore said, "but I think Snyder can come in and play."
Gore noted that Snyder has nine years of experience and has spent eight of his seasons with the 49ers.
"Mike's a great player, a Pro Bowl-player," Gore began, "he helps us out a lot, but Snyder is a vet player. He's been playing since he was a rookie. He'll be fine."
With the possibility of a new left guard in place for this week, Gore spoke positively on his team's chances of ending a two-game losing streak against a 3-7, Redskins team, also on a two-game skid.
"I know Monday night, Washington's going to be pumped and we're trying to get back on track to get where we want to be and that's the playoffs," Gore said. "We just want to get a win. Washington's a good team, too.
"They've lost close games back-to-back and I know they're desperate for a win."
Washington ranks 19th against the run, allowing 115.0 yards per game. They've also struggled in pass defense, allowing 274.9 yards per game, good for the NFL's No. 26 ranking.
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The 49ers have been limited offensively during their last two performances. In those games, San Francisco has scored 29 points. On the year, the 49ers have averaged 24.7 points per game, ranking No. 12 in the league.
The dip in production is not troubling to Gore. He recognizes plays are there to be made. He even included his crucial drop in the fourth quarter against the Saints as an example of how the 49ers can make the big play necessary to stack wins in the upcoming playoff push.
"When the play is there, you've got to make it," Gore said. "I point to myself with the pass. I should have made that catch. We wouldn't be talking about this right now."
As a team leader, Gore knows that he could have done more to help his team win. This week, he's focused on doing whatever is necessary to beat Washington on Monday night.
If it means a reduced role because of a stacked run box, that's fine with Gore. He recognizes that teams have clogged running lanes in recent weeks.
"Defenses are doing a great job on us," Gore said. "We've been doing great in the running game. Everybody has been trying to stop the run. That's what happened."
Gore remains upbeat. At 6-4, nobody is discouraged in San Francisco's locker room. The group remains hungry.
"We're trying to get back on track," he said. "Monday night should be a great game."