Patrick Willis spoke for the first time in a month since being injured in training camp. The six-time All-Pro linebacker injured his right hand in a collision with Bruce Miller during a running play on the first week of August. With last week being one his first times participating in practice, Willis said he is excited to continue playing football again.
"[The] healing is going well. I'm still going through a few things but still dealing with the hand injury," Willis said. "We are five weeks since I've had my surgery and it looks good."
Willis was seen wearing a blue non-contact jersey last week and on Wednesday he was in uniform without a brace on his hand. Jim Harbaugh hinted that he should be ready for Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers.
When seeing the Packers and their new running game, Willis said he saw positives in their second-round draft pick Eddie Lacy. He also talked about how Aaron Rodgers will still be effective even with two new players at the LT and RT positions.
"Eddie Lacy is big guy and if you let him get started, he will be a nuisance, Willis said. We need to tackle against any RB. [In the passing game], [Aaron] Rodgers gets the ball out quick. We're not 100% sure how fast he gets the ball out from before, but he is going to be even more added to get it out faster with [the two new offensive tackles]."
With first-round draft pick S Eric Reid becoming a new teammate behind the All-Pro linebacker, Willis said he is impressed with how quickly the rookie has learned everything. He is confident that Reid will be contributing a significant amount on defense.
"I have great respect for Eric [Reid] in the sense that he is coming in and learning the system," Willis said. "He's going to progress each day. Just to see where he's come from in day one to now, he doesn't mind hitting. He listens and he will respond back to you. Dashon [Goldson] was a heck of a safety for us, but I think Eric is going to do really well."
With the injury still lingering in the short term, Willis said it can't be a reason if he plays poorly. He wants to remain as one of the best linebackers in the game today, which is a distinction he has held in each of his six previous seasons.
"I can't let [the injury] affect my play," Willis said. "I don't want to cheat my teammates of anything I have. I want to go out on the field ready to go, no excuses."