For all intents and purposes, this is Week 20 of the 49ers season. With 18 games, each comprising 60 minutes of grueling action, in their rearview mirror, the team has suffered its nicks, cuts, bruises and worse. Players have returned, players have been lost for the season and players have played through injury.
Amazing then that San Francisco is about as healthy now as it could possibly hope for entering Sunday's NFC title game in Seattle.
Yes, that was outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, with 4.5 sacks already this postseason, wearing a head sock before Thursday's practice, telling reporters he was trying to "sweat out" his "severe cold." But he was still able to practice fully that afternoon.
VIEW: Injury Report
And, sure, cornerback Carlos Rogers has missed both of the team's first two playoff games with a nagging hamstring injury. But even Rogers and fullback Will Tukuafu, who left the Panthers Divisional round game early with a knee injury, were able to practice on a limited basis.
Rogers told KNBR on Friday morning that he expected to serve as the 49ers nickel cornerback come Sunday.
All this is to say if that, barring any setbacks, San Francisco enters the 19th and most important game of its season ("because it's the next one"), with its full complement of players. Considering the inherent violence of football, this is the most they could ask for.
Add this to that: The Seahawks could be without one of their top playmakers, wideout Percy Harvin (concussion), who hasn't been cleared to practice yet.
For more storylines surrounding the team, check out this edition of Morning Tailgate links, presented by State Farm.
Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group compared the 49ers-Seahawks to the 49ers-Cowboys.
Kevin Lynch of SFGate.comwondered about the effects of the 49ers shifting secondary.
Phil Barber of the Press Democratsaid the Seahawks secondary has the 49ers attention.
Bill Williamson of ESPN.com* *considered San Francisco's musical connections.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee* *gave some attention to Sunday's "chippy factor."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com* *examined how these 2013-14 49ers were built.
Taylor Price of 49ers.com wrote about the important of stopping Marshawn Lynch.
Ross Jones of FoxSports.comfeatured Perrish Cox, who also played for Seattle this season.
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