Patrick Willis has missed two consecutive games with a groin injury he suffered in Week 3 against the Colts. He said he wants to be one hundred percent ready but hasn't been at full strength.
"I love this game of football from a competing standpoint," Willis said on Thursday at his locker. "At the same time, I'm a team player and want to be honest. I didn't want to lie to myself and not give them [my best, which is the last thing I want to do]."
Willis was limited in practice for the last two weeks but has looked fine in warm-ups. He has been sitting out the past two weeks and said he doesn't want to see another setback.
The good news is that his hand injury from the preseason is fully healed. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said his chances of returning are better than before, but it's still a game time decision.
With the six time All-Pro linebacker in Willis sitting out in Week 4 and Week 5, other players get more playing time and development.
Michael Wilhoite has filled in well against the Rams and Texans in back to back games. In coverage and against the run, Wilhoite was consistent at not letting opposing running backs get past him and remained a force on special teams as well.
While he doesn't have the same quality of play as Willis, the 49ers will be fine from the ILB position as long as NaVorro Bowman is able to take the leadership role. The fourth-year linebacker proclaimed Willis and himself the generals of the defense saying it is an honor to lead the team.
Willis can take his time to make sure he is at full speed again with Wilhoite picking up his duties.