Click photo to enlarge
San Francisco 49ers' Delanie Walker leaves the field on a cart after being injured against the Seattle Seahawks in the first half of an NFL football game Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011. Walker was hurt on a first-down run by Frank Gore in the final minute of the first quarter Saturday against Seattle. Walker was the lead blocker for Gore, but fell as he went through the hole. As he went down, Walker was caught by a knee to the face from Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill, who was trying to jump over Walker as he pursued Gore. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Tight end Delanie Walker could miss the playoffs because of a jaw injury, coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday.
Harbaugh said the team would delay a roster decision until next week.
The 49ers still need a win Sunday, or a loss by New Orleans, to clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs.
"If there's a shot that he's going to be back in the postseason, we'd rather not make a roster move with him," Harbaugh said. "It'd be our hope that if he can be back, he will be back. And leave that option available."
The 49ers will be watching to see how Walker heals from an injury that floored him in the first quarter of Saturday's 19-17 win at Seattle. Walker's helmet was inadvertently kicked off by Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill, and Walker had to be carted off the field, holding a towel to his mouth.
Walker hasn't caught a pass in the past six games, but he has been a valuable blocker, especially in the two-tight-end packages. He caught the go-ahead touchdown in the final minutes at Detroit on Oct. 16.
Justin Peelle replaced Walker for the remainder of Saturday's game. Starter Vernon Davis is the only other tight end on the 49ers' roster, although Stanford product Konrad Reuland is a candidate to be promoted off their practice squad. The 49ers also have depth concerns at wide receiver. Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams, who also serve as their top returners, are both recovering from injuries.
Ginn did not play Saturday because of a left-ankle injury from a Dec. 19 win over Pittsburgh. "I'm not trying to really rush it," said Ginn, adding that he isn't intentionally saving himself for the playoffs and instead leaving the decision to play up to the trainers.
Williams suffered an apparent concussion while returning a fourth-quarter kickoff. Former 49er Michael Robinson drew an unnecessary roughness penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Williams, who had slipped earlier on the play. Harbaugh didn't think it was a clean hit, noting: "Kyle had given himself up. He should have been tagged off." Harbaugh said he was aware of Friday's Yahoo! report in which former 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan (now a Seahawks personnel executive) said the Seahawks would "beat the hell out" of the 49ers. Harbaugh said he didn't use that quote in any motivational team address nor did he put it on any bulletin boards. "It was irrelevant to me," Harbaugh said. The 49ers deserve nine to 11 players named to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday, according to Harbaugh. Only linebacker Patrick Willis, defensive lineman Justin Smith and punter Andy Lee were the leading vote-getters at their positions in fan voting, which accounts for one-third of the process. Players and coaches voted last week to complete the balloting. Wide receiver Joshua Morgan, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve after suffering a lower-leg fracture Oct. 9, is on the mend. Morgan began walking without a boot or crutches Saturday when he attended his first 49ers road game since getting hurt. As for his impressions on how the 49ers have progressed without him on the field, Morgan said: "It's been great seeing them all come together."
Harbaugh has said the 49ers plan on re-signing Morgan, a pending free agent. Morgan said he hasn't heard from his agents regarding any new contract, though he does want to return: "What better place to be than here," Morgan said. Running back Frank Gore attended the Warriors' opener Sunday night and thus missed watching the victory that made Green Bay the No. 1 seed in the NFC. "We ain't worried about no Packers right now," Gore said in a display of focus rather than disrespect.